The beating heart of most electronic products these days is digital: based around a programmable computer chip that processes information and also co-ordinates data storage and wired or wireless communications. Every project we implement – except the really small stuff – includes at least one processor and often even two or more. TDI’s holistic approach to professional engineering services means that we design not only the digital hardware, we’re also experts at code development for embedded processors
…whether it’s the firmware that controls core functionality, or the applications software that bestows the overall electronic platform with its outward capabilities and identity. Since many products now incorporate wireless interfaces to smart devices (think phones, tablets, TVs and wearable gadgets) we realised it was also vital to offer supplementary services to support development of Android and iOS apps, allowing us to deliver a total product solution.
Most commonly, TDI’s designs are built around processors with ARM cores, and we are keen participants in the ARM Connected Community. However, every project throws up different opportunities and challenges, and exhibits unique goals and priorities, so we avoid binding ourselves to one particular chip vendor or core processor type and instead apply an independent-minded approach to selecting the best all-round processing solution for every client product requirement. Where processing needs are relatively modest, a microcontroller often proves to be an ideal choice, since its highly integrated architecture will include on-chip program memory (flash) and data memory (RAM), plus a range of peripheral functional blocks and communication interfaces. Where greater complexity and higher performance is required, an application processor or specialist digital signal processor (DSP) will usually provide a more appropriate set of capabilities.
We can also turn our design skills to developing custom digital hardware based on CPLD or FPGA technologies. Again, we will assess the whole market and select the right vendor, technology type and device family to suit the precise needs of our client’s end product.