Today’s world has conveniences that were unimaginable just a few decades ago. Seemingly any movie, music, book, or TV show is available whenever we want at just the touch of a button. We can achieve the same surround sound quality at home that we can in a movie theater. Our modern sources range from televisions to BluRay players to internet streaming sources - and there are even record turntable and cassette players available for those with a bit more appreciation for “vintage” sources (there may even be a few 8-track players still around!). Fortunately, A/V receivers have been around for quite a while to help us manage these devices. We can easily switch from one source to another on the receiver to manipulate what comes from the speakers. What a mess all those cords would make running through the house connecting each source to each speaker!
Finding a COTS answer
Now imagine that instead of small A/V cords, you have large data cables. And instead of running through your house, they’re running throughout an aircraft. And they’re tangled. And they’re heavy. It’s quite the logistical mess. Not to mention how this aircraft’s weight increases with each cable - meaning there is less opportunity to put supplies or other equipment on the aircraft. Our newest product, the EIU1000, serves a similar function on this aircraft as the A/V receiver does in your home. We’ve taken the “vintage” busses from older A/V into the new world. And while we cannot lose those vintage connections, we are able to tie into that old, fat, heavy cable and turn it into a smaller, lighter technology. We can give it a protocol with an ethernet interface that all the new generation of engineers learned and are still cutting their teeth on.
The EIU1000 is a rugged Extended Interface Unit that combines a powerful System-on-Chip (SoC) with a broad range of Ethernet, avionics databus and serial channels, and discrete I/O connections into a compact all-in-one solution. It represents a COTS answer to the challenge of providing low-cost, high density interface within an integrated system architecture where interface flexibility, physical robustness, power, weight, and space are critical considerations.
Transforming the world
Luckily, new and efficient methods – along with the capability to produce simpler wiring, connectors, and supercomputers in a small container – are here to change the world. Aircrafts still fly by the same physical properties. The industry has found ways to gather data from sensors, combine and correlate data from numerous sources, manipulate that data instantly, and the use that data to control, log, track and inform consumers of that data. Someday we may not even include the pilot!