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Delivering a Complex Design

You need:

  • A complex design completed with many components, including CPU, display, wireless, storage, sensors and some special features
  • Enclosure design to suit
  • Fast working model to show lead customers
  • Prototype unit in 4-6 months at most
  • Clear route to certification, cost optimisation and volume production
  • Least possible risk of failure

Bluewater can Help

Anyone can put together a simple design, but complex products require a robust approach:

  • Modular design approach dramatically reduces cost and risk
  • Use existing pre-verified IP blocks where possible
    • Circuits, layouts, drivers, test systems, experience
    • Lower project cost
    • Less design risk
  • Up to 80% of a design can be made from pre-verified components
  • Full feasibility report to research options and provide unit cost estimates and development cost quote
  • Faster development due to design re-use
  • Linux / WinCE support ready to go for many platforms

Case Study

A defence company approached Bluewater to develop a battery-powered handheld device with four CPUs, full security acceleration, wireless networking, display and various connectivity options.

Feasibility work for this leading-edge design centred around the integration of the dozens of required features into a suitable platform. The approach chosen was to pursue three separate developments in parallel: CPU module, base board and power supply. This reduced the timeline of the project, while also reducing the risk.

Bluewater first created a base board with all functions and a large amount of test access to reduce bring-up time and risk. Using our advanced PCB tools this board layout was completed in half the normal time and after a successful bring-up we were able to re-spin this quickly into the required final form factor (without most of the test access). In parallel, a tiny CPU module was created with the required features, along with a power board to test out the battery options available to deliver all-day battery life. A large amount of FPGA firmware was written for security and display rendering functions.

Existing CPU module and other IP was used where possible to reduce design time.

The programme completed with a functional unit, on which the customer developed a large amount of software functionality with Bluewater's assistance.


A complex design project rewards careful planning and execution. Critical to this are:

  1. A good requirements specification and clear up-front communication with the customer
  2. A comprehensive feasibility study identifying all risks and options
  3. Working models if required to better define the functions required
  4. Design process begins