Preparation for industrial production DO-RA
1. Transportation of samples
The DO-RA project was born in March 2011 after a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan and was conceived as a gadget - a personal dosimeter-radiometer operating with the same software - DO-RA.Soft on any smartphone for mobile platforms: iOS, Android, WP and others, as well as on stationary platforms: Windows / Linux / MacOS.
At the end of 2017, a dozen long-awaited samples of the test batch DO-RA.Q, made on the basis of our design documentation (CD) in China, arrived in Moscow in a backpack of a Chinese tourist from Shenzhen to Moscow. By the way, KD was then instructed to develop the largest Design Center in Eastern Europe - the company PROMVAD. Everything was done clearly, in IPC format, in good English, including for the robotic production of electronic products abroad.
Our gadgets for smartphones, which arrived from China earlier, were stubbornly unwilling to carry air carriers, since they contained lithium-ion batteries. However, such batteries are on any modern device that we are surrounded in everyday life and that's okay.
As you know, restrictions on the mass transportation of lithium-ion batteries and batteries were introduced by ICAO * on April 1, 2016. Then all air carriers were obliged to carry out the delivery of such cargoes only by transport airports, in connection with the allegedly increased fire hazard of batteries. Although statistically the real probability of such a fire is close to zero against the background of the massive use of this technology in electronic technology.
It is good that when transported by a private person for such devices, any restrictions are usually powerless.
* ICAO is a UN specialized agency whose recognition protocol was signed on October 1, 1947 and entered into force on May 13, 1948. ICAO is an international governmental organization. Initially, after the signing of the Chicago Convention, there was a Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization (PICAO).
2. Errors of Chinese piece production
In the hands of a specialist developer, any thing can come to life, even incorrectly soldered and almost "killed." This happened in our case with the Chinese prototypes DO-RA.Q.
First, an incorrect resistance rating was revealed, 10 times larger, and already soldered to the printed circuit boards of our products. For this reason, not a single device was launched in principle. Next, a type of zener diode, which is not appropriate for the CD, was installed, installed in an electronic circuit and limiting, according to the logic of the developers, the operating voltage of the ionizing radiation detector.
In addition, in one of the samples of the DO-RA.Q device, the printed circuit board was overheated by visual signs, as a result of which the microcontroller installed on the board was fried and partially lost its calculated performance and, in contrast to other samples, “braked”, working approximately two times slower judging by the clock frequency. Alas, all this is a human factor!
On the other hand, we thought that the accidental overheating of the microcontroller led to extreme “climate” tests of our product. This fact indicated to us the survivability of our gadget with serious thermal bursts when working in an aggressive environment.
3. Russian manufacturer DO-RA
In mid-2018, the operator of the DO-RA project, Intersoft Eurasia, intersofteurasia.ru, at one of the domestic electronics exhibitions, met the Russian manufacturing partner investor represented by Sarapulsky Radio Plant JSC, concluding a license agreement with it for the mass production of DO- products RA: in 2018 up to 12,000 pcs. and in 2019 up to 120 thousand units. various modifications. It is worth noting that this is the oldest radio engineering enterprise in Russia.
The history of the Sarapulsky radio plant began in 1900 in St. Petersburg, where the German citizen Otto Treplin founded an assembly plant, which produced products sold on the Russian market from German components. Factory "K. Lorets ”successfully engaged in the production of mass telegraph and telephone equipment.
In 1914, as a result of the outbreak of World War I, the plant was sequestered and transferred to the subordination of the Main Military Technical Directorate. During this period, the company produced Morse-type telegraph apparatus, outpost telephones, and was engaged in the repair of a huge amount of military communications equipment coming in a continuous stream from the front.
With the start of World War II, a new page opens in the eventful biography of the Sarapul Radio Plant. November 28, 1941 "Moscow Electromechanical Plant" No. 203 was evacuated to the city of Sarapul. Having organized its production in the short time of wartime, already in February 1942, the Sarapul Radio Plant began mass production of radio equipment for the front.
In Sarapul, we quickly designed and produced molds for the DO-RA.Q version cases, purchased the main electronic components from Russian manufacturers and released the first installation batch of 150 pieces. It so happened that in terms of component base and skilled labor, we began to look more profitable than the Chinese. And taking into account the Russian mentality, the absence of a language barrier and customs procedures in the production cycle of DO-RA, unnecessary obstacles also disappeared.
4. Checking user software
Before launching a test batch of any electronic products prior to industrial production, all aspects of the future product are meticulously tested: circuitry, reliability of electronic components, mechanical and temperature susceptibility to overloads, and other loads on the product launched into production. In such tests, an important task is to test the reliability of operation, firmware and user applications. After all, if something after the start of sales starts to fail in the hands of the user, you won’t get any complaints.
The first in the software testing chain is the iOS mobile form. This happened historically, it was with her that our first product DO-RA.Soft began for the line of devices under the single brand DO-RA.
Some time ago, we had a rational idea - to switch to the universal Corona platform, which allows you to work freely on mobile platforms: iOS and Android. However, there is nothing eternal under the moon - a company creating a universal product under the brand name “Corona”, unfortunately, lost its track, having lost its investor exactly before the new 2019 year.
5. Testing for iOS
The first “cant” when programming was found, as always, not in the error code of the user application DO-RA.Soft, but in the usual pin of the conductor connector for charging the device from the computer’s USB port, when our leading iOS encoder Vadim Bashurov began his manipulations with the device . Thus, once again confirming one of the truths of electronics: It's all about contact!
It is worth noting that at the beginning of the project back in 2011, an iOS application was written in Objective-C, which is very understandable to coders around the world. All libraries in this language were registered in advance, all the functionality was laid out on shelves in the user application DO-RA.Soft.
However, scientific and technological progress does not stand still, and as if on command, the entire programming world began to switch to Swift ** 2.0, then to 3.0, 4.0, and finally to 5.0! The most difficult transition was from Swift 2.0 to 3.0 when major changes took place. By the way, Apple currently does not recommend using the AudioUnit library since version 7.0, encouraging coders to learn new programming languages, however, there is still no formal ban on Obj-C, because a lot of software resources still have Objective-C code based on applications .
Of course, some time was also lost on testing DO-RA.Q, and the detected problems were instantly written in the resolution in the device’s CD, for the manufacturer about the audio jack standard and for encoders about the new signal transmission system from the device to the smartphone.
So, due to the relatively high noise of the radiation detector in the form of a Geiger-Muller counter, another problem arose for programmers and circuit engineers on the horizon - how to measure the natural background of the Earth. That is, that range of ionizing radiation: 0.1 to 0.35 μSv / h, which is included in the green comfort zone for radiation. By the method of successive brainstorming, programmers and circuit designers solved this problem.
** Swift - (pronounced [swɪft]) is a multi-paradigm object-oriented programming language created by Apple for developers of iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS. Swift works with the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks and is compatible with Apple's core codebase written in Objective-C.
6. Testing for Android
One of the objectives of the DO-RA project, in terms of visual recording of events with reference to geolocation, was “screwing” the camera support for taking photos from the DO-RA Android application. The matter was complicated by the fact that it was necessary to put the user application not only in the Google Play store, but also in the Samsung branded market.
The process of validating software applications is arranged in such a way that in the Samsung store the user software was pre-tested, and only if everything was fine went to publication. At this stage, I had to torment myself with the support of many different models of smartphones purchased specifically for testing DO-RA software during the work on the Skolkovo grant. From a huge box, where there were up to hundreds of different devices, sharpened by: iOS, WP, TIZEN, antique: Bada, Symbian Java ME, you had to dig out the one that worked on the Android mobile platform.
However, most of the devices have never been sold in Russia (and possibly outside of Korea). Some had only a front camera, and when trying to choose another, the application immediately crashed. Samsung provided access to the pool of devices for remote debugging, but when the camera was turned on, nothing was visible (probably the devices were in cases or lying in a dark room).
In 2018, Google announced that publishing new applications and updates on Google Play is only possible if the application is built with targetSdkVersion 26 (Android 8). I had to urgently add permission requests from the user, modify the service and notifications.
As a result, the main problems of the DO-RA project were overcome, now we will wait for feedback from users using our devices in everyday life.
To be continued…