Rugged Tablet Computer: Make! or Buy after all?

The equipment of our customer is used in harsh field work, so where standard electronics breathes it's last very fast. For their control and visualization a platform was to be developed which supports specialized customer interfaces and controls. The requirements were very challenging, especially related to protection from water jets, sunlight readability and fall on a hard surface from large heights.

Together with our partners for mechanics we have performed a detailed system design phase. This phase consisted of the formulation of a technical specification ("Pflichtenheft"), the evaluation of various solutions and their evaluation with respect to development effort, unit cost and risks. In doing so, we also considered solutions based on COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) equipment.
Based on this data, particularly the risk estimation, the customer could decidefor a ruggedized standard tablet PC, which is modified by the manufacturer accordingly. This meant no development work for us, but the customer could bring his optimum solution to the market.

Project Scope

Expertise and Technologies

For the tablet, a platform based on notebook-processors was evaluated which together with screen, controls and battery was packaged in a shock- and water-proof housing.
During the system design this became more and more a complete PC, so that we extended our search outside of our original mandate to commercial ruggedized tablets and their modification possibilities. One of those tablets, modified by the manufacturer was the customers optimum.

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