Designing imaging systems is similar to designing any other type of electronic device. We've outlined our design process on our homepage. We recommend that designers use a similar process if they choose to develop electronics on their own.
First come up with a clear concept. Imaging systems should have a purpose. Some of the imaging systems we have designed are made to analyze the density of specific chemicals in the skin for example.
After you've decided on the system's purpose, develop a method for the device to accomplish that purpose. It may require a very controlled environment or a specific type of sensor. To learn more about sensors read CCD and CMOS Imagers below. Electrical engineers are a good resource for help if you get stuck in this phase.
Knowing how the system will work will help you to pick out components. This is kind of a chicken and the egg process. Make sure that current technology can perform the tasks you need. New technology can be developed, but this is a long and expensive process. You can find electronic component dealers online. Keep in mind, the more expensive each component is, the harder it will be to make a profit later. We have a team of sourcing professionals that can help you optimize costs. Together with our electrical engineers, they can help you find reliable components that are cost effective and that manufacturers will likely continue to produce. When certain components go obsolete it can sometimes mean that you'll have to do almost a complete redevelopment to incorporate a new part.
Design the form factor for the device. If you need your device to fit into a specific space or look a certain way find a way to fit all of the components into that form factor, or design a different form factor.
Once you're done with your design, build some prototypes that you can use for testing. Once you are satisfied that they are satisfactory, you can begin preparing for production. Find a manufacturer if you haven't already and make sure all of your components will arrive on time.
Once you're ready to go, start up production and get your product in the hands of customers.
Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) and Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors are used in cameras and for other imaging applications. CCD imagers tend to be more expensive, and produce higher quality images. CMOS imagers are less expensive, but suffer somewhat when it comes to image quality. VPI Engineering can help you find the correct sensor for your price range and application. 1
VPI Engineering also designs illumination control for devices that use CMOS and CCD Sensors so that they perform within a consistent environment.