Expertise

At Fourth Dimension we have an accomplished engineering staff with wide-ranging capabilities and years of experience. There are several capability areas where Fourth Dimension engineers are among the best in the industry:

RAPID PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT (QRC)
ELECTRONIC PACKAGING DESIGN AND FABRICATION
PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD DESIGN & FABRICATION
HARDWARE & SOFTWARE REVERSE ENGINEERING
EMBEDDED SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
RF ENGINEERING
RAPID PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT (QRC)

Overview

If your client asked you to create an unbelievable product in under a week, what would you say? We always say, “Sure, we can do that!”

Fourth Dimension Engineering is the company to call when you need experts to plan, manage and execute time-constrained electronic product development projects. We use highly integrated teams of mechanical, electrical & software engineers to provide a quick reaction capability (QRC) to develop custom electronic solutions. Quick reaction means schedules of hours to weeks and often requires us to provide around-the-clock support to meet mission critical deadlines.

In QRC projects, requirements and schedules tend to shift on the fly, requiring proactive management and active risk mitigation. We always create multiple solutions for every problem we’re given, executing them in parallel to make sure that when time is up, we have at least one product to deliver.

Our engineering teams have successfully completed hundreds of QRC projects.

Capabilities

Expertise Areas

  • Design re-use for risk mitigation and schedule compression
  • Extremely agile define/design/develop/integrate/validate development processes
  • Pre-qualifying specialty engineering and engineering support companies to meet surge needs and special capability requirements
ELECTRONIC PACKAGING DESIGN AND FABRICATION

Overview

Electronic packaging; no, it’s not bubble wrap and cardboard boxes it’s the enclosures and protective features built into the products themselves.

A Fourth Dimension mechanical engineer creating an electronic package design has to consider the technical challenges of protecting the system from physical damage, keeping electronics cool, preventing radio frequency emissions and protecting electronics from electrostatic discharge. While addressing the technical challenges, the engineer also has to consider usability, cost, manufacturability, and appearance. The bottom line is that our mechanical engineers have to be part scientist and part artist. Our mechanical engineering team draws on experience designing consumer products, computer peripherals, military gear and communications equipment. We can create complete mechanical designs for new products and make modifications and improvements to existing designs.

Capabilities

Expertise Areas

  • Single-sided, double-sided, and multi-layer boards
  • Rigid and flexible circuits
  • Surface mount, through-hole, mixed technology

Technologies

  • High density designs utilizing 0.4mm pitch BGA’s and QFP’s
  • 3 mil trace widths, 3 mil spacing, and 4 mil via drills
  • Double sided designs with blind and buried vias
PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD DESIGN & FABRICATION

Overview

Printed circuit boards, the fabric of life in our electronic world, tying together all of the equipment that will some day become self-aware. Fourth Dimension has a group of talented printed circuit board (PCB) designers with a reputation for speed, quality and efficiency. Our PCB designers maximize their use of board real estate to keep board sizes small and costs low. We not only provide design services, but we can also have your boards fabricated, assembled and tested. During development, our PCB designers work closely with the electrical engineers and mechanical engineers to ensure part placement meets both electrical and mechanical architecture needs. Our designers are experts in high density, high speed, digital and RF PCB layouts where signal integrity and electrical performance are critical. We also work closely with manufacturers to create PCB designs supporting efficient assembly and testing with high yields during production.

Capabilities

Expertise Areas

  • Single-sided, double-sided, and multi-layer boards
  • Rigid and flexible circuits
  • Surface mount, through-hole, mixed technology

Technologies

  • High density designs utilizing 0.4mm pitch BGA’s and QFP’s
  • 3 mil trace widths, 3 mil spacing, and 4 mil via drills
  • Double sided designs with blind and buried vias
HARDWARE & SOFTWARE REVERSE ENGINEERING

Overview

When you were young did you get in trouble for taking things apart? We did.

At Fourth Dimension Engineering, our engineers love to answer the questions “How and why does this work?” We spend hours poring over printed circuit (PC) boards and code trying to figure out circuit diagrams and software logic. Sometimes the task is to reproduce a PC board where the original manufacturer went out of business years ago and no documentation exists. Other times, the task is to understand the software or firmware executing on some electronic equipment to assess system security. In any case, our engineers use a variety of tools and techniques to successfully reverse engineer both hardware and software, including IDA Pro, OllyDBG, bus analyzers, microscopes and in some cases, custom scripts (i.e. Python, etc).

Capabilities

Expertise Areas

  • Hardware devices and circuit boards
  • Network protocols
  • Binary analysis of software and firmware systems

Technologies

  • Windows, Linux, and embedded operating systems
  • PCB layout and component identification
  • TCP/IP & Proprietary Protocols
EMBEDDED SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

Overview

Because someone has to write all of that software running your refrigerator, so your phone can tell you you’re out of eggs.

Embedded software that typically runs on a ‘black box’ with little or no user interaction is challenging to develop, challenging to test and especially challenging to debug. Fortunately, Fourth Dimension has a team of embedded software developers with a breadth of applications and depth of experience to be able to take on even the most complex projects. During their careers, our developers have created embedded code for applications as diverse as telecommunications equipment, aircraft Interrogate Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, networked sensors and network based storage appliances. We can talk about all of the normal buzzwords; requirements analysis, system architectures, code development, integration testing, etc. but to us, the important word is: results. Our embedded developers deliver solid, well thought out, well tested software and they deliver it on time.

Capabilities

Expertise Areas

  • Custom OS distributions
  • Embedded applications
  • Custom protocol implementations
  • FPGA programming using VHDL

Technologies

  • ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, 8051, PIC
  • Linux, VxWorks, pSOS, QNX and uC/OS
  • Xilinx and Altera FPGAs
RF ENGINEERING

Overview

Maxwells equations, Coulombs law, right hand rule – sound familiar? If not, just move on to the next section, nothing to see here.

Lets face it; wireless connectivity is a must for almost any product today. For example, a miniature battery-powered device may need to send small amounts of data to an access point, mobile equipment may need to tie into an 802.11, Wi-Fi, or ZigBee network, or a remote device may need to sense and stream high speed data to a base location over a proprietary link. Successfully incorporating one or more wireless interfaces into a product requires the expertise of an RF engineer. Our RF design team has expertise and proficiency in these and other wireless areas. We can take your rough concepts to a final product, we can engage with your team on the wireless portions of a project, or we can consult on a particular aspect of an RF circuit or antenna.

Capabilities

Expertise Areas

  • Custom Radio Protocols
  • Amplifier and RF Chain Design
  • Radio Path Loss and Link Budget Studies
  • Unique Antenna Designs

Technologies

  • Embedded Cellular and GSM Modems
  • Iridium Worldwide Satellite Transceivers
  • 11, WiFi, 802.15.4, ZigBee
  • Bluetooth ®
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