Edge computing firm ConnectTech developed a new embedded system for Augmented Reality applications aboard aircraft. Their camera and sensor system to overlay rich data on cockpit displays had such large requirements for data storage that the device had to be physically removed after many flights to load new regional data. 

Requiring a technician to regularly unscrew a device, then unplug eight cables, is a tough ask —especially when the device can be mounted in a variety of places inside a cockpit full of highly sensitive instruments. It’s a major pain point for end users — and a possibility for error. 

Aerospace design doesn’t do errors.

ConnectTech came to Cortex to design a ruggedized enclosure for SentryX — one that would withstand rigorous shock, vibration, air and thermal conditions. They needed a partner with the user experience chops to produce a frictionless design, who knew how to manufacture a product like this at scale. They also needed a team that could roll with shifting project requirements under a tight timeline. 

An enclosure is always more than an enclosure. It’s an opportunity to rethink assumptions about how people will interact with a product — to solve the user’s problem before they ever realize they have a problem. 

It’s never about making something that looks cool.

It’s about making something that is cool. 

The Insight

  • Let it slide. Our custom “sled” dock allows for rapid loading and unloading of the module, empowering users to connect eight different inputs and outputs (I/O) in seconds. 
  • Make it rugged. Our solution accommodates a host of adverse conditions, including shock, vibration, thermal, air and water ingress, while offering superior ease of use in a wide variety of cockpit settings. 
  • Simulate and iterate. Thermal simulation analysis validated our use of the enclosure itself as a heatsink, rather than an active fan — meeting tough environmental requirements while streamlining the device.
  • Technical requirements change. Design vision is eternal. Early in the process, we developed a design language that provided a north star as the project’s technical requirements evolved, allowing ConnectTech to gain fast user feedback and bring SentryX to market at rapid speed. 

Key Tasks

  • Concept Development
  • Enclosure Design
  • Prototype Design
  • Thermal Simulation Analysis and Validation
  • Design for Manufacturing
  • Production Liaison
  • Project Management and Support

© 2021 Cortex Design Inc.

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