07 April, 2012

Bluetooth Low Energy prototype showcase - "iPhone 4S - Canon DSLR - Remote"

The last few weeks we have been working with some very cool Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy designs. Our prototype boards came in from the assembler about a week ago and we are happy to announce that they work perfectly :).

First the demo video of the iPhone 4S controlling the DSLR:

Why we thought this is a good idea?

  • Currently the DSLR remotes in the market are mostly directional.
  • Carrying an extra remote is always a pain when your phone can do better.
  • This adds extra functionality over a conventional remote by enabling you to program the camera into clicking automatic pictures.
  • App updates will be pushed via the Appstore to add extra functionality to the remote over time.
  • Depending on interest - we might open source the protocol in the future to connect to the DSLR dongle and you might be able to whip your own funky remotes.

Bluetooth 4.0 Proto-board with an Indian Ten Rupee Coin for size comparison.

Bluetooth 4.0 is amazing for us for the following reasons:
  • No extra hardware needed for iPhone 4S/the new iPad for connecting to the accessories.
  • No MFI license needed from Apple for producing these accessories.
  • The battery life on these accessories is amazing - a single coin cell can last for about 6 months. 

Our current proto-board along with our in-house software enables us to quickly put together neat accessories - It took us little over 2 hours to create a dongle for our Canon 400D to remote control the camera via an iPhone 4S [ The demo video took about 8 hours though :) ]

We are currently open for collaboration - If you have an interesting idea or want us to design something for you, get in touch with us at - [email protected]

05 April, 2012

Hello World!

The last few months have been rather fun and busy at Buffer Labs. We moved to Bangalore in November - Finally Launched our site and have a workflow setup that gets us from design to prototype in 2 weeks.

Here are a few things that we noted over the last few months that might help others setting up shop in India:

  • Prototyping is an expensive affair in India - If you are a new startup make sure you have adequate budget set aside for whipping out at-least 4 new designs a month.
  • Its way easier to deal with PCB fabrication plants that supply proper design rules than dealing with lower cost PCB manufacturers who dont provide design rules.
  • It might be cheaper and more time efficient to get your boards done from a manufacturer abroad ( Our current favorite being Seeedstudio ) than to get it done here in India - We had a turn around time of 9 days from submitting the Gerbers online to getting the PCBs with us in Bangalore.
  • Its always handy to have a trusted local PCB assembler - Our current turn around time in Bangalore for PCB assembly is 4 days for reasonably complex RF circuits with QFN components.
  • Have good support teams for handling your accounts (Read CA on speed dial) and office refreshment needs [ :D ].
  • Lastly, friends and family before work - You never know when you might need moral/financial support [ ;) ].

tl;dr : We can make custom hardware designs in roughly 2 weeks and we are damn good at it  [ :D ]