Here is an example where our role was to provide specialist software expertise. Our client handled the hardware and product design themselves. We developed the firmware.
This leaf area meter is used by plant physiologists to measure the surface area, circumference and other dimensions of leaves. A hand-scanner captures the leaf image, then software written by us analyses the image to provide the measurements. The integrated graphical screen previews the scanned images and provides results. The product stores results and scaled images for transfer to a computer.
In an ongoing relationship, we have maintained and enhanced the product in response to client need, including migrating the firmware to a more powerful processor and adding features. A key design requirement was to ensure that the product is friendly and responsive to use – as a result, key routines are written in assembly language.
This example further highlights our skills and experience with the use of graphical displays using small microprocessors. Some key engineering features of this project include:
- Fast efficient firmware – to get the best performance from a low power, low cost processor
- Sophisticated display software, including proportionally spaced text that can be plotted in landscape or portrait orientation
- Complex algorithms, including perimeter calculation of an arbitrary shape
- Handling of bitmap images, in various formats including TIFF
- Implementation of communications protocols for data transfer
The AM200 portable leaf area meter is manufactured and sold by ADC BioScientific Ltd.