Makers at large companies

by jaygill on Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:49 pm

All,
Do you know of any large companies that have embraced Ardunio and
DIY? We hemorage $$$ to several "traditional" companies for realtime monitoring hardware I get here for cheap. Since I work for a large Pharmaceutical, lowering our costs will lower health care costs. We often open source our software (as do many of our competitors) and so I could imagine a nice open source hardware community evovling around biomedical research.
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Re: Makers at large companies

by adafruit_support_bill on Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:04 am

Interesting question. I am an independent consultant any most of my clients are larger companies. Many of them in the medical and biotech instrumentation field. Obviously, anything that needs FDA (FAA, FRA etc) approval or that will be part of regulated process needs to undergo rigorous teting and risk analysis before it goes into production. But, there is a lot of engineering that happens before that.

Most of these companies are geared to think big. They love spending money on expensive development systems and instrumentation. If it is not expensive, then it can't be very good, right?

Working independently, I can be more flexible. I find that off-the-shelf platforms like the Arduino are ideal for prototypes and proofs of concept. They are also great for building test harnesses. You can identify and work out the major design issues before you drop into the formal development process and turn the EEs loose on the ultimate custom FPGA implementation.

The intellectual property angle seems to be an even bigger sticking point than any regulatory issue. I know a couple of corporate IP lawyers and they break out into a cold sweat at the mere mention of open source. As I understand it, most of these companies live and die by their patents, and one of the fears is that bits of open source could get mingled with corporate IP and invalidate a patent.
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Re: Makers at large companies

by jn_austin on Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:21 pm

I know I am using the Arduino to help run some lab tests of a new test chip. The Arduino is good for the limited bit wiggling I need so yes it's being used in larger companies. This started out as a interesting side project but were actually using it in the project flow now. I don't think that is anything strange. IN the past we used 8051 boards and other controllers to do similar things. It's lower cost than some of the LabView solutions we looked into. For the correct applications the Arduino makes a lot of sense.
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Re: Makers at large companies

by Brastic on Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:41 pm

This is a good topic. I have been finding Arduinos hidden in big corporations lately, but not where you would expect them. I saw someone at the TechShop get hired to build an bunch of Arduino HVAC controllers. The facility manager was getting hammered on his budget expenses and he figured out that a lot of money was being wasted on changing the vents when people complained about the temperature. It would take 1-2 hours to have someone go up and slightly adjust the flow. The Arduino controlled vents were much cheaper than off the shelf solutions and saved his labor cost.

I also see Ardunio controllers on assembly lines where someone had a good idea on how to solve a problem and management came up with a huge cost to implement, so the employee just did it with an Arduino and went on.

I have also heard of less productive usages like the aquarium automatic feeder that would tweet for the fish to say, "Thank you for the food".
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Re: Makers at large companies

by Metaphysicist on Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:58 am

At my previous job we had a very finite budget and we used open hardware to achieve a lot. We used Arduinos for assembly line detection and movement, for controlling almost every aspect of the physical infrastructure (lights, unlocked doors, etc).

Also, the LHC uses Arduino's for data reporting in certain areas :)
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