The Future of Medical Technology: The Merging of Man and Machine

medical technology cybernetics

If you’re a fan of science fiction, then you’re familiar with the idea of cyborgs. The merging of man and machine has given us characters as varied as the Cyberdyne systems Model 101 terminator, and classic heroes like the six million dollar man. And if you’ve been keeping an eye on the news, you’ve no doubt seen that real-world cybernetics are making big strides as well.

One prediction that’s been made is that cybernetic augmentation won’t just be out of necessity, in the future. Instead, it will be something people do deliberately.

More Than Human

A cyborg is anyone whose physical functioning is either dependent on, or advanced by, a mechanical or electronic device according to Dictionary. That is a pretty broad definition, and it includes both senior citizens with pacemakers, as well as people with prosthetic limbs, and who wear contact lenses.

That last one might be particularly important when it comes to understanding the potential future of this aspect of the medical field. Contact lenses have been around for a long time, and the idea behind them was fairly simply in the beginning; rather than wearing corrective lenses on your face, put them directly into your eyes. However, as contact lenses became easier to make, and more reliable to use, they became more popular as cosmetic items. Whether someone would rather have blue eyes instead of green, or an actor needs to have that bright red, the-devil-is-in-me look, this simple device expanded from being something used to correct legitimate problems people experienced into something that fulfilled a very different role.

According to The Medical Futurist, cybernetics offer the same sort of potential, but to the nth degree.

As an example, imagine the not-too-distant future where we have developed working, cybernetic eyes (or at least corneas). These eyes will allow those who have been blind to gain vision, true, but they could do much more. Perfect vision on the level of a high-quality digital camera, along with the capability to zoom in from a long distance away, or even to record images and video to be seen later makes it more than just an eye; it’s a body camera straight out of a cyberpunk spy thriller. It might also have the ability to see in night vision, infrared, or other modes, as well!

If such a thing existed, who wouldn’t want to have that instead of the eyes they were born with? Especially if their vision is less than optimal, and this technology could offer them something so much better? You could extend those questions to practically every part of the human anatomy, and ask why someone wouldn’t want an upgrade. Artificial muscle fibers meant to help those with degenerative conditions could turn a healthy person into a superhero. Digital skin implants could allow someone to have a tattoo that can be changed at will.

The list of possibilities goes on and on, and it’s only limited by our own creativity.

Popularity, Cost, and Difficulty

While it’s hard to imagine people voluntarily undergoing drastic augmentation for procedures they don’t need, it isn’t tough to imagine that technology could grow so advanced that we reach a point where some implants could be done as simple, outpatient procedures. As the technology advances, and the cost comes down, things that we once considered on the cutting edge (smartphones and tablets, for example), will become more affordable and available to the wider population.

When it comes to cybernetics, that offers up all kinds of unique possibilities.

If you’re working on new and exciting advancements in medical technology we’d love to help! Get in touch with one of our product specialists today!

The Top Three Most Common Product Design Mistakes to Avoid

When you set out to create something new, you quickly find out how deep you’re in. This is uncharted territory! You’re on your own now! It can be scary, it certainly can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be something that you do alone, without any help or guidelines along the way. Instead of diving in blindly, it is extremely helpful to come up with an efficient plan backed by healthy amounts of research, so you can ensure your idea will make its way through design, development, manufacturing, and marketing into a concrete product that will sell. 

Below, we’ve outlined the top three mistakes that developers make that can easily put a business — large or small — at risk. Keep these key points in mind when you’re starting your product development journey so you can easily avoid disaster. 

Lack of a Plan 

The first and perhaps most important step to developing a product is to outline a detailed plan for it. Ask yourself what it is that you want from this product. What is its purpose? What is your consumer market? Why? How will you appeal to that key demographic? What will your marketing look like? How will you roll out the product to the design team? The manufacturer?

These questions may seem silly or obvious, but if you haven’t thought each one of them through and made a written document of how you plan to address each portion of your plan, then you will not be prepared along the way. You can’t anticipate every issue that may arise, but you can think through as many as possible and put down some solutions on paper.

Ensure that your plan includes an approximate timeline of all foreseeable deadlines with a little flex time built in for cushion. A copy of this plan should be copied and given to (or clearly communicated in another fashion) your suppliers and manufacturers, as well as those on the marketing end responsible for the product launch. Not only will you be more prepared, but other stakeholders can be more prepared as well — and you’ll have a working document to refer back to if needed for accountability measures. 

Lack of Research 

Another glaring mistake that can happen when you’re setting out to design a new product is forgetting to do your research. There are three important components to research: understanding the product and its purpose, understanding the market, and understanding the client who will buy the product.

In order to understand the product and its purpose, you can always refer back to your planning document, which should include a vision for the product. You should always try to experience the product from the point of view of the customer; is the experience worthwhile? Does your vision for your product play out – in terms of efficacy, purpose, and aesthetics?

In terms of researching the market and consumer, you must not only gather accurate data but also thoroughly analyze it. How well do you know your market? How well do you know your customers? These are essential questions to answer by compiling data-driven research that will inform the rest of your entire design process.  

Lack of Efficiency 

Finally, the third hard-hitting mistake that product design and development teams make is a lack of efficiency, which almost always stems from a root cause: unclear or inconsistent communication. 

When you have deadlines that must be set and met, communication between the design team, developers, and the manufacturing contact person must be constant and efficient. Without it, you run the risk of deadlines being missed, which results in broken systems of accountability and weakened trust.

Your communication plan must include frequent, most-pressing updates (as to not overwhelm); friendly (not annoying) reminders about upcoming deadlines; and clear expectations regarding what standards must be met throughout each step of the process.

If your product goes into development stages but you haven’t communicated what standards must be met, your supplier will manufacture the product using standard industry expectations. If that’s not what your product calls for, this miscommunication could be seriously costly. Making sure that you are clearly communicating with all other stakeholders of the project will avoid this mismanagement mistake. 

 Looking for more information on building successful design models? Don’t wait — keep reading. Or reach out; we’re here to help. 

 

Top 10 Robotics Innovations of 2019

Over the years, machines have continuously moved out of the research labs and into areas of real-world applications such as medicine, construction, and more. With more robots playing a part in the creation of high-quality products and the completion of certain jobs and tasks, this trend is set to continue.

Every year sees advancements made in the field of robotics, and 2019 is no different. This article looks at a few robotic innovations being made;

1. Hadrian X

Hadrian X is a robotic bricklaying system with the ability to construct a house in two days. The Dynamic Stabilization Technology it makes use of enables the Hadrian X construction robot to correct for certain factors in the environment in real time; ensuring precision in its functionality.

2. Temi; the personal robot

Its sound system that makes use of autonomous navigation, as well as its smart display capabilities, allows Temi to connect its users to their various smart devices, video communications, and friends, delivering an unparalleled user experience coupled with day-to-day usability.

3. Saul Robot

The Saul Robot was developed by Xenex to aid in the fight against diseases such as Ebola. The robot does this by emitting high energetic pulses of ultraviolet rays to break down the virus’ cell walls. The Air Force uses it during the procedures of quarantine that are conducted on the aid workers.

4. Pepper

This robot makes use of multi-directional microphones, analyzing the lexical field, enabling it to assess the tone of voice and emotional states of the humans around it. This allows Pepper to change its attitude based on the perceived mood of the human. The combination of 3D and 2HD cameras make it possible for this talking humanoid robot to recognize object shapes.

5. Paro

Paro is one of the many examples of robotic applications in the field of medicine. The robot has five sensors; light, posture, audition, tactile, and temperature. This therapeutic robot is designed to aid in lowering stress levels and has been effective in assisting as well as motivating patients to relax.

6. Robotic Exo-suits

This lightweight exo-suit has introduced new ways of combining fabric design, robotic control, actuation, and sensing to increase the users’ balance, endurance, and strength. The soft exo-suit wearable robot can be used to help the elderly increase their muscular strength and can also be used in the rehabilitation of the various movement disorders that can be found in adults and children.

7. Asus Zenbo

Asus developed the Zenbo to help its users remember and even perform daily tasks. The robot can understand verbal commands, monitor its surroundings to detect emergencies, and can connect to other smart home devices such as door locks, cameras, and lights.

8. Worker Robots

The tech giant Google is rarely left behind when it comes to technology innovations. It is planning to come up with worker robots that will be able to download different personalities from cloud-based systems, and further store and display them while interacting with human beings.

9. Multi-tasking robots

Advancements in technology have led to the development of robots capable of performing multiple tasks simultaneously; one such robot is the multi-tasking bot. The multi-tasking bot can prepare a hamburger in 10 seconds and could be the first step in revamping the fast food industry.

10. Robotic surgeries

Intuitive Surgical has continued to push the limits of surgical robotics, making Da Vinci a pioneer and a market leader. This surgical robot makes it possible for a surgeon to control three wristed, elbowed instruments that come with an articulated endoscope meant for deep-seated lesions.

Innovations in tech are being made at an unprecedented speed. Looking for more information on building successful robotic models? Don’t wait — keep reading. Or reach out; we’re here to help. 

Exploring the Self-Service Industry: How Kiosk Solutions Enhance Your Brand

There are different ways to channel your company’s resources and enhance customer service experiences. Some businesses want to provide a place where customers can find information, such as the directions to different vendors within a major airport. Other businesses want the target user to perform a transaction, such as making a cash or credit card payment or obtaining a product via a vending machine.

 

Creating a self-service kiosk solution is a way that a business like yours can interact directly with customers, either by providing a specific experience through self-service kiosks or by delivering multiple solutions in a hybrid kiosk/vending machine. When your goal is to build self-service kiosks, the question is whether to create different models (each design specific to the user experience) or to design a hybrid kiosk that delivers multiple products or services to customers via a single machine. At Coolgear, we develop products that are used in the designs of many types of self-service machines.

 

Getting Started

 

Before you can create the right self-service kiosk, vending machine, or hybrid kiosk/vending machine for a brand, it’s important to answer some questions about your current and future business strategy:

 

Will a self-service machine best meet the consumer’s needs?

 

You can create a machine that serves a single purpose — providing one product or service — or a machine that enables a customer to perform multiple tasks or transactions. However, remember that consumers are now accustomed to using their smartphone for everything so they won’t use a kiosk to interact with a brand if there is an easier way to accomplish it. Therefore, when designing a customer experience, be sure to decide whether a kiosk or an app is the best way to accommodate the busy consumer.

 

Can a kiosk take the place of a service rep?

 

Some customers prefer to have a physical interaction with a brand. Think of the consumer who still goes to the shopping mall to try on clothes instead of ordering through Amazon or another website. He or she may be willing to scan the price tag of a garment at a kiosk, but prefers old-fashioned consumer experiences (i.e. asking questions about a product, looking for deals on clearance racks, using the dressing rooms, and paying a real cashier).  If you want to reach targets in the same way a customer service representative would, providing an interactive kiosk could connect with targets without actually staffing employees in a physical location.

 

Will you deliver a product or service?

 

There are different types of transactions that a self-service kiosk can perform. For example, a customer can check in to a facility or event or purchase a ticket or a product. When you are at the cruise terminal, you see kiosks that allow customers to perform everything from renting luggage carts to paying for parking and purchasing sunscreen. A kiosk benefits the brand by decreasing the number of minutes required for a customer to complete a transaction.

 

Will you need to generate more income through kiosks?

 

Self-service kiosks provide diverse consumer experiences. When a customer approaches the ordering kiosk at McDonald’s, he or she can select the type of product and see an image, price, and number of calories for each type albeit a sandwich, a beverage, a snack, a salad, or a dessert that is desired. With this type of experience, a customer can be more likely to spend more. The ordering process is rapid on a touch screen display, and the customer can pay after giving little thought to the total amount of the purchase.  

 

What is a reasonable timeframe for a customer to complete a transaction?

 

Digital consumers are motivated by the convenience factor. They don’t want to waste time or go to multiple locations or machines to interact with a brand. They want your brand to streamline every consumer process, including when they want information, to pick up merchandise, or to return a rented item.  

 

We can help brands understand the increased revenue potential of custom-designed kiosks because many of our products are used in their design. Looking to start a self-service project? For more information, please contact us today.

Your Guide to USB-C: Benefits, Pinout, and Use Cases

As hardware and cable technology continues to scale with software, new and exciting cable types are being released rapidly into the market.

One of these cables — the USB-C — is certainly the child prodigy of the USB range of connectors. In fact, it’s incredible data transfer speeds, and power capabilities have poised it to take over as the new standard for a plethora of devices.

But, what is USB-C, what does it’s pinout look like, and why is it so valuable?

Let’s take a look.

What is USB-C?

USB type C (usually referred to as USB-C) is a new standard of USB cables that’s jam-packed with features. It can transfer data rapidly (up to 5GB/s) and supports some of the speedier tech out there like Thunderbolt (which has a mind-boggling 40GB/s data transfer speed).

USB-C Features

Let’s look at the four primary features that set USB-C apart from other USB tech.

  1. It’s flippable: We all know the pain of plugging a USB incorrectly the first time. You think you have it right; it doesn’t work, so you flip it only to realize you actually had it right the first time. It’s annoying. USB-C can plug in any-which-way.
  2. It’s incredibly fast: USB 3.1 gen 2 can theoretically deliver speeds of 10GB/s. 
  3. It has negotiable power levels: USB-C supports up to 20 V 5 amp (100w). That alone is fantastic. But, USB-C also lets the peripheral negotiate its own unique power supply needs, making it perfect for some of the more complex batteries out there (i.e., lithium ion).
  4. It supports tons of tech: Whether you’re looking for Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, HDMI, or even USB gen 2 support, USB-C has it. This makes it extremely versatile. To do this, USB-C takes advantage of CC configuration pins that let it use alternate modes (i.e., USB 2.0, 3.1, HDMI, AUX, and third-party modes like Thunderbolt).

USB-C Pinout

The USB-C connector has a total of 24 pins.

USB Type-C Receptacle Pinout

USB-C receptacle pinout end-on view

 

USB Type-C plug pinout

USB-C plug pinout end-on view

VBUS and GND

Both the VBUS and GND pins are power and ground pins. You may be wondering how it can reach 100w on a VBUS which carries a nominal 5V supply. Even though 5V is standard for VBUS, USB-C allows devices to negotiate and choose a non-default voltage up to 20W and 5A. This means that you can use USB-C to charge some power intensive devices like laptops.

RX and TX

USB-C has two sets of these standard digital I/O pins. The TX/RX pair is used to provide USB 3.1 mode, while one of the CC pins negotiates the USB mode. RX and TX carry USB SuperSpeed data, but they are also used for many of the USB-C alternate modes.

VCONN

VCONN is a 5 V 1 W power supply used to power the IC within an electronically marked Type-C cable.

SBU1 and SBU2

The SBU1 and SBU2 sideband use pins are also used for alternate modes like AUX and display port.

CC1 and CC2

These are the configuration channel pins. You can think of these as the master pins in this group. They do role detection, cable detection, orientation, modes, etc.

D- and D+

These are the USB 2.0 data lines used for 2.0 compatibility.

Note: It’s important to note that the plug-side pinout only has one D- and D+ connection and has a VCONN that replaces one of the CC pins. The VCONN, again, is used to actually power the IC.

Conclusion

A significant upgrade to USB 3.1, USB-C is capable of delivering data faster and in multiple modes. It also packs a punch with 100w power — making it a nearly universal cable solution.

Are you looking for best-in-class USB-C cables to power your equipment? Contact us to start your next project with the right solutions.

IT’S ALIVE! Our Cee-Y Splitter Prototype is being put through the paces on our bench. You can now share your USB PD Power among multiple ports.

from Twitter https://twitter.com/CoolgearLabs

Our New Cee-Y Splitter, One 60Watt Type C Input splits into Two 25Watt Type C Outputs, Supports PD 3.0 with PPS. Currently with a 50/50 Power Sharing Algorithm.

from Twitter https://twitter.com/CoolgearLabs

Palm-Sized Power Delivery: CG-POE15VPD The Smallest PoE to USB C PD Adapter In The World

scale of usbc-poe-pod

Coolgear designed a sleek new integrated chip (CGPD18 IC) to support low power USB C devices with Power Delivery. The CGPD18 IC easily converts PoE to USB Type-C power and is expanding the possibilities of commercial and industrial USB-C PD designs.

The CGPD18 IC is currently being used in our new CG-POE15VPD USB C with PD (power delivery) PoE Splitter for Nest Cam IQ Outdoor & Nest Cam IQ Indoor.

What is USB C Power Delivery?

With 10 times the power capacity of earlier USB protocols, USB-C powers modern electronics with the capacity to charge a phone in 15 minutes or simultaneously charge a laptop and power an external monitor. Phones, cameras, Wifi Access Points, laptops and tablets utilize the USB-C PD standard.

While other USB connectors are still popular, many new designs tend to gravitate towards Type-C because of the long term advantages it offers. Before USB C, consumers found it challenging to locate USB-C chargers that were compatible with a variety of devices, so Coolgear developed the CGPD18 IC as a cost-effective USB-C PoE integration to be used in a broad range of implementations.

Why USB-C With Power over Ethernet?

While USB-C is gaining popularity, it still has its limits. Many of the best cables can only transmit power about ten feet (three meters). And USB-C is currently not integrated into the overall construction of buildings and homes.

Ethernet, on the other hand, has been cost effective, travels up to 330 feet and can be found in most modern construction projects. With PoE, you can transmit power without having to pay electricians or pull permits, providing enormous cost savings and ease of implementation. For a fraction of the cost, you can complete sophisticated installations with equipment you already have on hand.

Coolgear envisions the use of the chip in other converters and devices where additional cable length is needed for low power.

Coolgear’s IC Delivers Palm-sized Power Delivery For Nest Cams:

The Nest Cam security camera is one of the most sought after devices for remote security systems, but camera users found the out-of-box setup difficult to hide due to the need to plug the device into a power socket and the limited 25ft USB wire length. The new Mini PoE to USB Type C Adapter All-in-One (CG-POE15VPD), designed by Coolgear Labs makes use of the new integrated chip (CGPD18 IC). This all-in-one power extender allows camera users to move Nest Cams’ an additional 100m (328ft.) using a Cat5/6 cable from a PoE injector while removing the need for bulky A/C adapters that give away the location of the camera. Nest users can now create highly effective surveillance systems that are out-of-sight and secure from theft.

Partnering With Coolgear Labs to Design Innovative Solutions

Coolgear has designed and engineered this IC to be applied into your own circuit design and power delivery applications. The chip’s built-in features and benefits add a great value to its intended purpose.

Our IC was used to create the world’s smallest PoE to USB Type C adapter, 60% smaller than any other PoE to USB Type C solution.
  •  
  • Overload & short-circuit protection.
  • Industrial temperature operation.
  • Made to withstand harsh environments.
  • This chip has a maximum ambient operating temperature of 78°C
  • 9-12Watt PD profile.
  • Power Input: PoE PD IEEE802.3af compliant POE (PDoE)
  • Power Output: USB Type C PD.
  • Status LED.
  • Designed to provide power to low power PD devices with type C port.
  • Cost-effective and scalable solution.

Specifications

  • Fully IEEE802.3at and IEEE802.3af compliant POE.
  • Class 0 (0.44 Watts to 12.95 Watts) USB type C PD 9-12Watt PD profile.
  • 1500VDC isolation (input to output).
  • Class 0 signature.

At Coolgear we’re dedicated to developing advanced technology, manufacturing quality products, and testing out new ideas and concepts for computer technology and its advancements. Need help with your next project? For more information, visit Coolgear.com or contact us.

Taking Power To New Lengths: Coolgear, Inc., Designs its Own Integrated Circuit for Low Power Type-C Devices

Coolgear has developed and designed a new integrated circuit chip to work with USB Type-C power delivery outputs. This first-of-its-kind chip (CGPD18 IC) was designed to increase adoption of USB Type-C to power small electronics and provide ultimate flexibility for both business and casual consumers. As of today, this new technology has allowed us to create the smallest PoE to USB-C PD adapter in the world — 60 percent smaller than any other PoE to USB-C solution.

The Growing Popularity of USB-C Power Delivery

USB-C power delivery has become popular because of its speed in charging and powering electronics — in fact, it has 10 times the power capacity of past USB protocols. But Type-C is also limited because it can transmit power only about 10 feet (3 meters). An integrated circuit designed specifically for use with low power Type-C devices can increase options for compatible devices and converters, particularly from Ethernet (PoE) to Type-C, thus increasing adoption of USB-C.

USB Type-C Power Delivery provides new and exciting design options where size, industrial design and style are important factors. It also enhances ease of use due to less confusion for plug and cable orientation.  

USB is evolving from a data interface that supplies limited power to a primary source of power with the data interface.

  • Power Delivery – More power with USB Power Delivery (up to 100W)
  • USB Type-C – More Flexibility with a new reversible USB-C connector
  • More Protocols – Video Alt Mode, Display Port, HDMI, Ethernet
  • More Speed with USB 3.1 (10 Gbit/s)

Coolgear Brings New Innovation To The Nest CAM

Coolgear has introduced the chip commercially in a PoE to USB Type C PD adapter for use with Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor plug-and-go security cameras. The Nest Cam Outdoor, for example, comes with a 25-foot USB Type C cable so it cannot be mounted further unless an extension featuring Coolgear’s technology (CG-POE15VPD) and new integrated circuit is in place. The addition of USB Type C as an option for low power devices has lead to more flexibility for electronics owners as well as increased data speeds and power transmission.

 

 

Features of the CGPD18 IC Chip

This new CGPD18 IC chip is versatile enough to be used with virtually any independent circuit design and power delivery application. It integrates overload and short-circuit protection for increased safety and prevention of damage to sensitive electronics.

Coolgear’s IC chip is built to support the following maximum PD voltage profiles: 5V 2.39A | 9V 2.07A | 12V 1.51A | 15V 1.27A | 20V 1.11A. See the following chart for information on the chip’s versatility for power delivery output.

Coolgear’s IC chip is built to support the following maximum PD voltage profiles: 5V 2.39A | 9V 2.07A | 12V 1.51A | 15V 1.27A | 20V 1.11A.

Made for use in harsh environments, Coolgear’s CGPD18 IC chip operates in temperatures up to 78°C (172°F), which is suitable for a variety of industrial uses.

A Lower Cost Solution To Power

In order to reduce cost and implementation time, the CGPD18 IC has been preprogrammed with lower PD profiles and is designed to work with various USB Type C outputs and supports PD voltage profiles from 5V to 20V. Instead of using expensive chips that need to be programmed to meet low power specifications, the CGPD18 IC costs three times less and works instantly.

CGPD18 Integrated Circuit Use

The Coolgear CGPD18 IC was developed to provide versatility for USB Type-C power delivery and can be used in a wide range of applications. Built-in features include:

  • Designed to provide power to low power PD devices with type C port
  • Compact design & footprint
  • Overload and short-circuit protection
  • Higher flexibility for designers needs
  • Industrial temperature operation
  • Cost-effective and scalable solution
  • Maximum ambient operating temperature of 78°C
  • Made to withstand harsh environments
  • Power Output: USB Type C PD

Coolgear engineers have been working hard over the past year to improve PoE development, and with the addition of the CGPD18 IC, the ability to easily convert PoE to USB Type-C is a reality. Coolgear envisions the use of the chip in other converters and devices where additional cable length is needed for low power.

About Coolgear

As one of the world’s largest internet-based companies, Florida-based Coolgear, Inc., offers innovative USB products paired with top-notch customer service and technical support. With a 20+-year history of supplying computer peripherals, industrial serial adapters and USB component products to the aerospace and education industries as well as consumers around the globe, Coolgear continues to develop advanced technologies that benefit engineers, product installers and end users. For more information, visit Coolgear.com or contact us.