Electrical Engineering/Technical Device
QUESTION: I had an idea for a very simple device that can probably be made using mostly walkie-talkie parts, but I don't know very much about electronics, but am willing to build the devices myself if someone could help me know what needs to be plugged into what. Know of any people that can figure out what needs to be done so I can go shopping for parts and start putting them together? I have a 3D printer as well so I figured I could print the outsides of the device.
ANSWER: Without knowing more about the complexity of the device and its application area it is difficult to venture guesses. As a starter, however, if you are thinking that it has commercial or professional market potential and your long term aim is to produce prototypes and then eventually work into volume manufacturing you need a consulting engineering partner no matter how simple the device. And if it has more than a few parts in it you may need a consulting engineering group. There are standards, licensing, patenting, quality control, design confidentiality constraints and such that what seems like an easy implementation may become very complex. When you say 'walkie-talkie parts' it scares me right away because those are far from simple devices and there are patent land mines all around such devices.
My suggestion is you work with a known professional in the area of your device to build a budget and game plan as to how to start the project and how much know-how, marketing, legal and technical services you will need for the first phase of its design life.
Let me know if I can help further. Hope these comments make sense to you, but let me know more and I can elaborate. Do not reveal the secret, however. Keep that to yourself until the intellectual property rights are secured.
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QUESTION: I am not looking to make a profit from the idea, and I assume the idea is too simple for anyone to feel their is any benefit in patenting it alone. I merely wanted to create a par of signal boxes that transmit simple light signals to the other person's box. No speakers or microphones. Just a yellow "ready" light, and a green and red light for yes and no type answers. Completely radio silence way to transmit simple messages without words. If someone took out a patent on that I have trouble thinking they'd make any money on it. lol. My only concern is transmiting on a frequency that will have no disturbances from other devices.
ANSWER: It is not so simple as it sounds if you are using radio frequencies as it must meet FCC requirements. But, if you are merely sending light beams back and forth that is simple enough. You could probably make a proof of concept using IR remote control circuits off the shelf using tv or radio parts.
Have you looked around the Internet? There are many hundreds of hobby type sites that provide instructions on how to build signaling devices.
The above I found with a first simple google search.....
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QUESTION: Are there other frequencies that aren't radio signals that are unoccupied. I don't need it to be long distance by any means, but I might not have the luxury of line of sight.
Light beams and Infra Red devices are all line of sight. Sound can go around corners but at ultra sonic frequencies it becomes direct; lower audio frequencies would be audible.
Radio will work to several yards reliably. Consider the wireless microphones which work well in pretty robust environments over distances used in music halls, etc. A wireless mic could be used for a test case probably. They are available for anywhere from a few dollars for the low end units working into an fm radio to several hundred dollars for professional units. To modify the microphone unit for switch or beep is not hard to do. But, it would be one-way. If you need two way then you are back to the walkie talkie devices. They mostly work on FCC part 15 rules which limit the frequency range and power that can be used in the transmitter.
Above gives you an idea of the rules and regulations.
Does this help?