"In the past few years the field of electronics has expanded at a phenomenal pace, and predictions are that it will continue to grow at an accelerated rate for some time to come…. and has opened this field to possibilities of astounding proportions. Electronic… applications… are found in various branches of scientific research, many branches of therapeutics, and a wide variety of industrial manufacturing processes. There is scarcely an industry that does not today employ some electronic device as a process control or safety device in the manufacture of products."
These words were written for the introduction to a book titled “Electronic Principles (Prentice Hall, New York).” It was written in 1948. The author makes a point about electronic breakthroughs that is just as relevant today as it was over seventy years ago. Innovation in the lab is all well and good, what makes it great is when it is applied to solving real-world problems. (Not for nothing, but I hope I am this relevant when I turn 71.)
From a research facility in the early 1960s came a cool piece of tech that bounced lasers off objects to accurately measure distances. They called it LIDAR, which is short for Light Detection and Ranging. LIDAR can not only tell you how far an object is, but also provide information enabling machines to recognize - and act - on objects of interest and ignore the things that aren’t. First used by the military the technology was later used in meteorology and astronomy (most famously by the Apollo 15 mission to accurately map the surface of the moon). Slowly, LIDAR found its way into applications such as automobiles (in autonomous, or driver-less, vehicles), manufacturing (to improve the safety of mobile and stationary robots on factory floors) and security systems (for managing traffic flow in congested areas).
For almost fifty-five years Analog Devices has been developing products that enable cool tech such as LIDAR. Many are breakthrough Integrated Circuits (ICs) that have made us a leading supplier of signal processing solutions. While some of those products have been specifically designed for LIDAR, others are part of a large catalog of low noise, high-performance and low power consumption ICs. But, as stated above, breakthrough products are only the beginning. We knew we also needed to provide ways for designers of LIDAR-based systems to take full advantage of our cool products so they could develop their cool products. Which is precisely what this piece of hardware is intended to do:
Called a prototyping board, it is actually several boards that can connect together to provide a way for LIDAR product designers to test their designs ahead of production. Whether the intended application is Autonomous Vehicles, Factories, Security systems, Forestry, Aerospace and Defense, Healthcare, Building Control & Automation or 3D Time of Flight this flexible platform will help designers get their products to marketing faster. By providing complex LIDAR functionality and allowing developers to use their favorite design software, further speeds design time.
Designers who are interested in learning the details about this new LIDAR development platform are invited to visit the LIDAR platform webpage.