PANMOBILs revolutionary OEM – AutoID – components are a bit bigger than a stamp, but shape a perfect, efficient compact computer, that can be easily integrated into any existing system environments with their own CPU as well as their extendible transmission and communication module. Hardware developer Yakup Önder tells us in an interview about the challenges in the construction and about the numerous possibilities that result for the AutoID world.
Mr. Önder what are X-Boards?
They are basically full-fledged Barcode and RFID Scanner together with a necessary computer in a stamp size. Everything that PANMOBIL currently offers on AutoID intelligence is contained in this little board! It contents everything that is necessary for the application of AutoID technology, like processor, communication interface or working storage. Through exchangeable modules, the so called expansion boards, makes the X-Boards modularly extendible to be perfectly matched to your own system environment at all times. Through this exchangeability we are able to assemble a device for everybody according to the modular principle. The AutoID world is fast and flexible. With the X-Boards we created a foundation, so that the companies are always able to adjust to the newest and best technology.
How powerful are the X-Boards?
The board has a 400 MHz – processor, 64MB RAM and 1 GB storage capacity. With that said, it is the worldwide smallest and highest performing computer for transmission of Barcode and RFID data. The X-Boards can be equipped as desired with RFID – Reader or with 2D barcode cameras. Through a sub board interface further modules, for further support boards with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, can be added at any time. Via the micro USB interface you are able to directly plug in the X-Board to a computer in your company. In the HID modus (Human Interface Device), it starts to capture the data immediately after connecting and transmits the captured data to the computer. We can also provide the matching software for the data transfer if desired. One of the main domains is tablets and smartphones, which can be equipped with it. You simply connect the X-Boards with the USB socket of the mobile devices; there it will be directly recognized as a keyboard. The keystrokes in this case come from the scanner, which types the captured data like a keyboard entry into the desired document. The X-Boards therefore make it possible to expand all current tablets and smartphones with AutoID technology.
How did you come up with the idea to develop the X-Board?
“Embedded computing” is what we do here, a similar development took place in the world of mobile phones. In the past the mobile phones were huge, then they became continuously smaller and throughout the revolution of smartphones they continuously got bigger again. And in the embedded computing a similar development happened. Before you had huge hardware boards and giant standard industry computers containing everything you can think of with an operating system, with a lot of storage and so on. Then the individual companies started to draft everything smaller, until the Open developer came, which had fun developing and wanted to make the technology approachable for everyone. Their goal was that not only all developments are able to do everything, but also are compatible with each other. In the past every manufacturer developed something of their own, indeed dense and small, but technology that didn’t really work out well with other technology. And we see ourselves in the tradition of the Open developer at PANMOBIL. Compatibility and consistent systems come to the fore for us. Instead of building all component parts on a new board for every new customer demand, we now have all the interfaces that you need for a successful production in industry and they can be modularly extended. The advantage: is something broken, it will be taken out and replaced. Very simple! You have a consistent standard and you can align to whatever is currently is “State of Art”.
What were your biggest challenges?
The X-Board has a size of 32.4 x 20.6 mm. A 3 km data lines are laid on it. There are 160 pin contacts in total, which had to be connected with the main processor. The challenge was to accommodate voltage regulators, storages, RAM and processor on such a tiny board and
place all the connections of the processor ideally, so that the boards can be adapted to every individual circuit board. After over a year of developmental work, I can say: I am proud to be part of developing such a tiny high performance object! Other AutoID producer obstructs big boards that contain everything but not suitable for customizing and not flexible at all. With the X-Board we developed the first compact and modular AutoID systems. The computer won’t be smaller than a stamp anymore, because we set a standard with this size, which is easily combined with other systems, but the power density rises further. For the customers that means faster and more powerful devices and in the future as the case may be a device with a big display.
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