Agility Meets Experience

Embedded Hardware Design & Engineering

Software is continuous, hardware is cyclical

At Right Brain Electronics, we provide on-demand hardware design & engineering services for custom connected devices from concept to mass production, specializing in climate technology and consumer electronics. 

How We Approach Development Collaboration

We offer flexible engagement options, allowing you to leverage our expertise at any or all stages of the process outlined below

We work with you to flesh out the following:

  • The user experience & feature set
  • Define the minimum viable product
  • Research and identify technologies with supply-chain in mind,
  • Design the hardware architecture
  • Estimate cost-of-goods
  • Plan development phases
  • Document engineering requirements

We work closely with your software and mechanical teams to get a working prototype as quickly as possible onto the engineers’ desks, often using SBCs, eval boards, and custom prototype PCBs, allowing you to gauge performance, user feedback and prove the feasibility of your product.

For each development phase (Prototype, EVT, DVT & PVT), we design the custom circuitry, schematic, PCB layout and test plan. 

Alternately, we collaborate with and supervise the ODM to perform any of the above steps. 

After fab & assembly, we bring-up, verify and validate the board, then integrate with the mechanicals and software to validate the entire system. 

DFM / DFT (Design for Manufacturing / Test) is a huge part of what we do, in order to ensure a smooth hand-off into production. 

For each phase, we scrub the BOM to reduce cost, while balancing time-to-market and design risk.

You can’t improve what you can’t measure.  Continuous internal, user, and QA testing and validation are key components of every step of the product development.  We also work with 3rd party labs to test, debug and rework the design to meet any EMI/EMC and Safety Certifications required for the target market.

We work closely with you and your manufacturing partner to define the manufacturing steps, specify tests, minimize time-to-market, and maximize yield.  If needed, we can design and fabricate the automated test system for your custom PCBs and final assemblies.  We can work with your off-shore manufacturing partner online and on-site to break down communication barriers.

Project Pain Points

Challenges we have solved for our clients

We get this a lot, and it’s something we’re very conscious of.  We’re able to offer excellent value by:

  • Keeping our business overhead low
  • Fostering long-term relationships with proven off-shore teams to do time-consuming CAD tasks for us, such as PCB layout and creating schematic and PCB footprints
  • Our level of experience means less trial-and-error, and less board revisions

This is a lot more common than you could ever know.  Whether it’s UL safety (leakage, high voltage clearance/creepage), FCC/CE radiated or conducted emissions/immunity, ESD, there’s not much that we haven’t seen.  We have proven methods for mitigation strategies depending on the baseline measurements taken at the lab, and will create a plan of attack before your next trip to the lab.  

As you already know, a functional product doesn’t mean it’s a mass-producible product. Finding the right manufacturing partner is obviously a very important step, but even with that under your belt, the product needs a thorough DFM/DFT (Design for Manufacturing/Test) scrub, so that it can be assembled and tested efficiently and inexpensively. Even before that, we need to make sure the PCB components chosen aren’t going to have unreasonable supply chain limitations when you are looking to scale. We’ve worked with clients that had working products based on a Raspberry Pi, Nvidia Jetson, BeagleBone Black or even Arduino boards, and we successfully adapted their designs for mass production.

So often, a design that successfully meets the required performance, time-to-market, and feature-set can result in a cost-of-goods that’s too high for the target market. Or the Bill of Materials has been well-scrubbed, but the cost of manufacture is too high because it takes too long to test each unit, or the production yield is too low. We can address each of these issues with your team and your manufacturing partner to get the FOB pricing to where you need it, so that both parties end up with adequate margin. If the cost reduction requires a change in product requirements, we can come up with a set of trade-offs and each of their potential cost-savings.

Of course we have experience designing connected IoT devices that use cloud AI implementation, but AI on the edge (on-device) requires much more specialized hardware design. More and more, we have clients coming to us with compelling cases for implementing AI on the edge, for security/privacy, low-latency, and being able to withstand variable or very low connectivity bandwidths. We’ve helped our clients with prototype and production solutions for computer vision, speech recognition, and flagging abnormal sensor input, while minimizing BOM cost, power consumption and technology obsolescence.

Featured Projects

Variability in Resourcing Needs

Your hardware engineering needs ebb and flow – while software is continuous, hardware is cyclical.  There’s a huge push to get a PCB revision out, but when that’s successfully in production, you don’t need the same large EE team.  That’s where it makes more sense to hire a fractional EE team like us to supplement your internal engineering team, so that you can ramp up and ramp down the hardware team to support your changing needs. 

You need a new board/feature/accessory, and you need it in a hurry – It’s not uncommon for a company to require outside engineering services in order to meet tight time-to-market windows.  Without having to go through the recruiting and hiring process to grow your own team, we can ramp up quickly and shorten your development timelines.  We have a huge inventory of equipment and parts in-house, in order to speed up prototyping and development.  

Because we’re a small consultancy, you always get the principals working on your project.  We can expand our capabilities through our proven network of contractors and consultants, but you always work directly with the “A” team.  The kudos we get repeatedly from our clients are our level of engagement and attention to detail. 

Our experience runs deep and wide.  We’ve designed everything from very inexpensive electronic toothbrushes to pro-audio mixing consoles.  We have experience in industries as varied as home fitness, micro-mobility, kitchen appliances, climate technology, smart-phone accessories, toys, personal health, public art installations, pro-audio, semiconductor ATE, hazardous gas analyzers, and we can make anything or any one light up. How can we leverage everything we’ve learned from these projects to work for you? 

From the initial engagement to final turnover, we address your pain-points and make sure we make the experience as easy as possible for our clients.  We’re communicative, low-maintenance, motivated, engaged and flexible.  We’ve been around for this many years because we’re good people, we do good work, and we’re good to work with.  Let’s talk and see if we’re the right fit. 

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