We’re inundated with development boards. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. I think that’s a great thing for our industry. The easier the manufacturers can make it for the engineering community to get a design to prototype stage, the better off everyone is.
I recently was exposed to the Geppetto offering that puts a different twist on prototype design. Developed by Gumstix, Geppetto is a custom design-to-order (D2O) platform aimed at electronic manufacturers, educators, makers, and hobbyists. A brief video explains it well.
In a new twist, the platform can be used to architect third-party expansion boards or modules can be developed that are compatible with a host of boards based on the Texas Instruments Sitara AM335X microprocessors. That includes the BeagleBone Black, Critical Link MitySOM 335X, and the Diva CPU module. Using the platform, custom expansion boards can be designed, manufactured and shipped within 15 business days with no minimum order requirement.
When I took my test drive on Geppetto, I was surprised at its simplicity – yes, it was easy enough for me to develop a module in a few minutes after getting immersed in the environment. You simply drag and drop the functions you want onto your module and the software does the optimizations for you.
When you’re done with the online design, you click to order a market-ready device. The Geppetto automated manufacturing cycle completes the PCB routing, fabrication, sourcing, component purchasing, assembly, and board bring up. Automating the supply chain reduces engineering and manufacturing time and cost.
Note that Gumstix engineers verify all Geppetto-manufactured devices before production. The initial manufacturing cost is $1,999 with no minimum order requirements (reduced rates are available for larger quantities).