Bringing new products to market is fraught with challenges, which is why many companies turn to production and commercialization experts like Zühlke Engineering. Zühlke provides support across three interconnected areas: product and software engineering, management consulting and start-up financing.
The company was approached by Toptica Photonics AG to assist with the commercialization of a diode laser control technology that would combine new levels of low noise operation with an intuitive and convenient touchscreen interface.
The Zühlke team first analyzed the core-operating concept of the controller and adapted it to the requirements of a touchscreen interface. They then implemented a technology prototype to address any major technical and performance-related risks before developing a front plate and touchscreen user interface (UI).
A key feature that was required for the touchscreen was the use of an extensible architecture that would enable the existing PC UI and touchscreen UI to be built on a common business layer.
To do this team turned to Qt.
Software Engineer, Zühlke
One of the reasons behind the decision to use the Qt application development framework was that the Qt Quick technology enabled the rapid development of a modern multi-touch UI while still using the solid Qt API. Conveniently, Toptica had already developed the PC interface using Qt; so many of the modules could be plugged straight into the new interface.
During development, ongoing usability testing ensured that the user interface provided end-users with demonstrable levels of convenience and functionality that added real value during use, significantly enhancing the user experience.
Close cooperation between the design, usability and implementation teams ensured that development cycles were short and enabled Toptica’s expectations to be continuously reconciled with the technical possibilities.
The end product, the DLC Pro, provides impressive resolution of 20 bits and higher while enabling precise control. In addition, its knob and touch user interface and PC GUI allow for comfortable and intuitive operation so that users can easily change scan parameters with a multi-touch gesture, tap on a peak to select it and lock the laser to that peak with a simple press of a button.