Q and A with NeuronicWorks Inc.

Q. Brief description of the company

NeuronicWorks Inc. is one of the top design engineering houses in the heart of Canada’s leading tech community. NeuronicWorks provides turnkey, end-to-end, custom electronic product design, and embedded engineering services, including hardware design, embedded firmware, software development, application development, graphic and industrial design, mechanical design, prototyping, testing and certification support, and manufacturing.

With strong technical knowledge, excellent practical skills, and extensive experience in project designing, analysis, documentation, prototyping, testing, and manufacturing, NeuronicWorks has successfully completed many projects ranging from interface boards to complex standalone and distributed systems across multiple platforms.

Q. Examples of product designs

Over the years, we have worked on over 200 successful projects across industries like medical, automotive, industrial, agritech, cleantech, wearables, and consumer electronics among others. These are a couple of interesting projects:

Tip Tap Pay: Contactless Payment Processing

This product is a standalone, portable wireless device built for pre-set denominations. Its wireless nature, simple setup, and small size make it ideal for charities, fundraisers, and any business or venture involving a small, fixed amount. It works as a standalone point-of-sale device created to provide faster, simpler, and more affordable payment solutions for everyone.

Automatic Air Inflation-Deflation Control System

This system allows the farmer to increase the fertilizer application time-window, protect the soil structure, reduce fuel consumption, have less slippage, increase pull, and reduce yield loss due to soil compaction. The system gives automated alerts depending on the tire pressure vs. speed conditions and lets a farmer automatically inflate or deflate their tires to pre-set levels with the simple flip of a single switch.

Hydragen

Hydragen™ is a portable, safe and reliable aftermarket unit that produces hydrogen on demand. It is designed by dynaCERT, a Canadian company, for on-road applications with class 6-8 engines. The DynaCert technology is centered around providing a hydrogen-oxygen mixture to improve the performance of the internal combustion engines.

Cobra

The system instantaneously captures images from 100+ cameras and renders them into a digital model for 3D printing. Created for Objex Unlimited, a 3D printing studio based in Toronto that makes highly detailed physical models, rapid prototypes, and unique personalized products.

Lotus

The Lotus device is a fashion-forward, gender-neutral wearable device that pairs to the App via Bluetooth, allowing for remote control of the App’s features. One can easily and quickly use the lotus to activate tracking and sharing of GPS location, photo, and audio data. It also allows for hands-free phone calls in emergency situations (Android OS only).

2020 Armor: Recreational Electronic Chest Guard

20/20 Armor is an electronic chest guard that gamifies martial arts and tracks the speed, stamina, and power of strikes. This product aims to be the standard training system for all striking martial arts and the official scoring system for the Olympics, with the ultimate vision of making Taekwondo a professional sport.

Q. What are the top set of skills you look for when hiring an engineer?

These are some of the skills and personality traits we look for when hiring engineers.

  1. Attitude
  2. We believe in building the best team and not just hiring the best people. The candidate will need the right attitude of being a team player and should be passionate about projects. They should be curious, eager to learn, and ready to assume responsibilities.

  3. Communication
  4. While most of the work of an engineer happens at his or her own desk or workspace, it is important to interact daily with not just direct team members but also members of various other departments including project managers, purchasing, inventory, sales, and marketing. Communication is critical to the success of a project, and these skills are vital to success.

  5. Creativity
  6. In this industry, it is important to nurture creativity and critical thinking skills in order to deliver intelligent solutions to problems. As an engineer, it is important to identify, assess and analyze complex problems presented by a project and deliver and implement creative solutions.

  7. Attention to Detail
  8. Accuracy and precision are very important skills for an engineer that can only be achieved by paying attention to detail. Being detail-oriented can ensure the avoidance of critical and expensive mistakes that can completely overturn a project and even damage the reputation of an organization.

  9. Technical Knowledge
  10. Last but not the least,  technical knowledge is an important criterion. Besides the latest trends, the person should also have knowledge of the basics and fundamentals of engineering. As a simple example, a candidate would need to understand proper power decoupling techniques with multiple capacitors and should know, why, how many, and what values to select. This can only come about with thorough knowledge of fundamental theories of physics and math.

Q. How do you think engineering education can bridge the gap between what is learned in college and what the industry requires?

There is only so much that can be covered in 4 or 5 years of an engineering degree program. While it is important for the education program to cover the latest technology trends, it should not be at the expense of the basics. Apart from what is being taught as part of the program, it is important for a student to adopt a practice of ‘Read, Ask, Try’, which will help in gaining, building, and sustaining knowledge at an individual level.

We believe that longer internships would be more beneficial than the current average of around 4 months. An additional 4 to 6 months of internship would make a considerable difference to the learning curve. With a longer internship period, organizations would be willing to share more responsibilities and project opportunities with interns which would be a great learning experience.

In addition to the program being taught at college, it is also imperative that students get exposure to information and experiences from industry stalwarts. This can help in preparing students for an engineering role in the real world.

Q. How can a student or new college grad prepare to join your company?

Over the years, we have had a lot of new college graduates join our organization, some of whom are working with us in senior roles now. Some main points to note are that the individual should have an eager willingness to learn and should be open to accepting challenges on a daily basis. Each project we tackle brings about unprecedented challenges and we thrive on creatively solving and successfully overcoming them. We would appreciate an individual who would have the same passion as us in solving customer problems and who is willing to go the extra mile to keep our customers happy. Creativity in design thinking along with a positive attitude are key attributes to a successful engineer. And finally, be ready to roll up your sleeves, and tackle projects head-on. With the right attitude, technical knowledge, and hard work, our organization would be a right fit for any engineering graduate.

About this author

Image of Titu Botos

Titu Botos is the CEO of NeuronicWorks and has held various positions in leading organizations like Exploranium, MDA (formerly SPAR Aerospace), Vishay Precision Group (formerly KELK) and held teaching positions at the University of Timisoara.

He has over 30 years of experience in analysis, design, testing and debugging of both analog and digital systems and has a strong background in engineering research and training.

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