A little OT - looking for help designing electronics of embedded linux device

Shane Hathaway shane at hathawaymix.org
Fri Jul 3 15:01:47 MDT 2009

Jeff wrote:
> I am trying to find a contract electronics design company who can help 
> me design a product (the product will run embedded Linux so it's not 
> entirely OT). I've talked with a couple of different local companies 
> (VPI, Neonics) and based on the discussions I had with them I've 
> discovered that what I'm after is apparently a bit more cutting edge 
> than I had thought. Because it's apparently so cutting edge, it's going 
> to take a company or individual who's expertise is in the specific field 
> of eletronics I'm after (measuring distances using the "time of flight" 
> of an RF signal). Also they need to be someone who is up to date not 
> just on what's on the market but what is just barely hitting the market 
> and what is about to come out of the labs and onto the market in the 
> next year to 2 years.

Would GPS signals be sufficient?  Sparkfun has a wide variety of GPS 
circuits, and they're finally coming down in price.


Potential problems with GPS include precision, the initialization period 
(up to 40 seconds, I've heard), and satellite visibility.  The GPS 
advantage is a fairly low price due to commoditization.

There's also AGPS, which improves the precision but increases the price 
a lot.

> Does anyone know of any company, individual, or guru like that? (They 
> don't have to be local to Utah though it would be great if they are).
> I've tried google - but the problem is every custom electronics design 
> company claims to be great in their marketing materials and I've 
> realized I'm probably only going to be able to weed through them based 
> on references.

Sparkfun could be the right place to ask.  They've designed a lot of 
circuits and they probably know a lot of good designers.

I should say that I've also wanted to build a pair of circuits that 
measure distances using RF signals.  With triangulation, and if the 
measurements happen often enough, you could make outdoor video games. 
It would be better than a Wii!


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