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Hardware from Anywhere: Remote Collaboration with PCBs

Mihir Shah

With the recent COVID-19 epidemic, the world’s largest companies are encouraging (*requiring*) their employees work from home… So what's a hardware engineer to do? There are boards to bring up! Hardware to debug and assemble! Hardware development cycles are becoming shorter and shorter, and engineers are needing to develop and iterate on their designs in record time. Even before the epidemic, collaborating across regions and doing any sort of remote work as a hardware engineer was practically impossible. How does an engineer walk their contract manufacturer or remote engineering colleagues through a complex PCB assembly? How does a technical support team walk a customer through debugging an evaluation board? Working away from the lab or contract manufacturer has just never been a viable option.

...until now :)

Painfully cumbersome and ambiguous “documentation” for PCB rework and assembly

inspectAR enables remote collaboration for hardware engineers by bringing all of the information about a particular PCB (nets, components, layers, datasheets, bill of materials, documentation, test instructions, etc.) into a single, shared view. This allows engineers to see exactly what their counterparts in another region are seeing. Overlaying every aspect of a design directly onto the circuit board with augmented reality, inspectAR enables interactions with circuits intuitively. Inspect, debug, rework, and assemble PCBs in less time, without mistakes or frustration. inspectAR is the first and only tool that ensures that remote teams interact with hardware exactly as intended to. A recent survey of our largest customers across the US showed that, on average, inspectAR has saved engineers about 50% of their time interacting with physical hardware in the prototyping hardware development process. This includes flights and travel avoided, and documentation waived in lieu of just tackling hardware problems and setup scenarios in real-time, together.

inspectAR: nets, components, layers, bill of materials, datasheets, and more... all in one place

With setup taking minutes, and thorough support material guiding users every step of the way, inspectAR is being used by engineers around the world to save countless hours in the hardware development process bringing-up, debugging, inspecting, and assembling PCBs. Engineers are able to walk anyone in different parts of the world through their PCBs, without having to share native design files, or requiring that everyone have access to or understand how to use a complex EDA tool.

Interested in seeing how you can save more than 50% of your time in the lab during the prototyping phase of hardware development? Download the free version of inspectAR to get a feel for the technology with some popular pre-loaded boards from Digi-Key and SparkFun, and apply to join the Pilot Program to use inspectAR with your custom PCBs.

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