| CASE STUDY: Kustom Signals EyePortal
Building An Innovative In-Car Video Support System for Kustom Signals.
Learn how our seamless process from discovery and design to a production ready device in 3.5 months, resulted in a cutting-edge video device solution that enhances officer efficiency and safety.
Kustom Signals has been serving law enforcement agencies with quality technology for more than 57 years.
It is very exciting to continue to innovate in ways that benefit our customers and communities. This innovation in particular is a continuation of the work we pride ourselves in.
Product Manager – Video, Kustom Signals Inc. – KustomSignals.com
Kustom Signals needed to add support for its next generation wireless cameras to an existing in-car video system that did not support all protocols and transport mechanisms natively. Since this was an in car system, it had to be rugged enough to handle high heat environments as well as challenges that come in the automotive world like vibration. Furthermore, the portal device needed to be smart enough to handle all processing and deliver it to the existing system in a format it could ingest without major software changes.
During our project kickoff we refined what protocols the portal device needed to support as well as how it had to transmit that information to the existing system. Through this exercise we determined that BLE, WIFI, Ethernet, and audio decoding capabilities would be required as well as connectivity to the existing system with specialized locking connectors since this would be mounted in vehicle. We also analyzed the expected processing power and determined a single core application processor would be sufficient.
From the discovery, it became apparent that based on required features, a necessity for quick time to market, and the expected yearly quantity the best approach was to use an off the shelf Linux SOM with a custom developed carrier PCB. This would quicken time to market and reduce risk while still meeting the requirements for allowing a custom locking connector. To simplify installation, we selected a locking, automotive grade connector that would allow all connections (data, power, and audio) to be run over a single cable to a single connector from the existing system.
In parallel with hardware design, our industrial design team worked to design a simple case that met all mounting requirements but also looked sleek as it would be mounted in open view in the vehicle.
With designs complete, we began schematic capture for the hardware followed by PCB layout. Once complete, the designs were reviewed for manufacturability and then sent to a quick turn board manufacturer for prototypes.
In order minimize software development time once the hardware prototypes were ready, software development started immediately on a Linux SOM development board. Over 75% of the development was completed and validated prior to ever having the first prototypes PCBs in hand.
Once the prototype boards were received, software was loaded and the final 25% of porting was completed.
The industrial design team continued moving forward on the case designs and had 3D printed versions of the case ready for fit and function testing at the same time the prototype hardware and software were ready.
Initial prototypes consisted of a quick-turn PCB, an off-the-shelf Linux SOM, and 3D printing cases. With real components and parts in place all mechanical fittings were validated and prototypes that resembled the final product were built.
During testing all hardware was validated on both benchtop and in real scenarios installed in a vehicle. Software was refined based on both simulated and full integration testing.
Finally, the prototypes were installed in the field for validation prior to prototype sign off.
Once prototype testing was complete, a production image was created with the final software package which was submitted to the SOM manufacturer, and injection molded cases were sent out for fabrication. Since no issues were found in the prototype hardware, the design files were sent off for a production quantity quote without modification. Final items like serial number programming were worked out and within 3.5 months of starting the project was ready to kick off the first production quantity run.
The Eyeportal project was successful on many levels. The initial prototype hardware worked without changes and only minor updates to the case tooling were required which saved time and money by minimizing design iterations. This resulted in a quick development cycle from definition to production ready. The product has been very successful in the field and the technology approach was even patented.
This patent builds upon the integration of our hardware and software systems to work together in unison, a core feature of the EyePortal product launch. Launching the ability to activate either the Vantage Body Worn Camera or the Eyewitness HD In-Car Video System from the other device allows the officer to focus on the situation, and less on operation.