Most of the electronic devices that you buy can talk to a computer in some way. Whether it’s for setup or file sharing, getting this to work is a complicated procedure for businesses to pull off. It takes a lot of time and design before a product will work properly with a computer. And, even more time when devices work across lots of platforms. To help you understand this process, this post will go through some of its important aspects.
To interface with a computer, a device needs to have it’s own computer inside. In some cases, this only needs to be a small chip with very little data on it. In others, like smartphones, the computer will be the main one that powers the device. The computers have their own form of operating system. This is usually known as it’s firmware. The firmware can communicate with the computer and share information. Within the firmware, there will be code that has to be written that will perform the job of the device. For example, the firmware on a memory stick would be setup to handle data transfers. Without this software, the device would be completely useless when connecting to a PC.
To give manufacturers a chance to all use the same interfaces, some very smart people developed USB technology. USB stands for universal serial bus and was designed as a standard for computers communicating with outside devices. The USB connector comprises of several data and power pins. Depending on the device, more or less of these pins will be used. Since it’s arrival, USB has taken the tech world by storm, with most devices adopting it. This provides developers with an easy way to make sure that their devices will work with as many computers as possible. The USB standard is the same on every device.
Of course, when it comes to developing hardware, there’s always tools of the trade. But, how do you test a USB device? It’s easy to plug it in and see it works. But, if it doesn’t, you won’t know why. This is where USB protocol analyzers come in. These devices can monitor a USB connection and collect the data that flows through it. The most accurate forms of this technology come as hardware. This gives developers that chance to see exactly where data is failing to work properly. When the find a problem, they can use the analyzer to make sense of it. They will be an error code, to help make it easier. This sort of tool can be essential when it comes to testing hardware. Other tools, like multimeters, will also be used to test connections. These devices can measure different parts of a connection’s power output.
This should give you a good understanding of what it takes for companies to make our devices work so very seamlessly with our computers. This is no easy task. So, it’s usually best left to professionals when it comes to making products. Some tools, like Arduinos, make this sort of activity much easier.