LAVA’s SimulCharge: An integral component for interactive experience and “live” content streaming at Melbourne Stadium.
Located in the heart of Melbourne, Etihad Stadium has hosted more than 35 million fans since its opening in 2000. To keep the attendance numbers up, the stadium is continuously innovating to exceed customer expectations.
In early 2015 the stadium began a series of projects aimed at improving the fan experience. Central to this vision was the idea of a Smart Seat which creates an individual experience served directly to a visitors seat. Smart Seat technology – which includes tablet displays and a device management system – would replace some pre-existing video seats and offer high definition screens enabling fans to watch a live match along with the HD replay action. LAVA’s SimulCharge provides the core technology to deliver this solution.
Challenges in attempting to commercialize a consumer product
A few years ago LAVA was approached by a customer to develop a solution for utilizing an Android tablet as a low-cost controller along with several USB peripherals. Since then a number of LAVA products have been developed which rely on a feature found in certain Samsung tablets. While assisting a number of customers with their integration issues we’ve seen a reoccurring set of issues that keep coming up. Overall these issues can be grouped into one of two categories: Physical Issues; and Commercialization Issues.
A few years ago LAVA was approached by a customer to develop a solution for utilizing an Android tablet as a low-cost controller, in conjunction with several USB peripherals. The project required that the tablet operates in USB Host mode with 24/7 functionality. This early product was the starting point for what would eventually become the LAVA STS-** family of devices.
A few years back LAVA looked into the possibility of using an Android tablet as a low-cost control panel for a Thermostat control system with a series of network sensors. These discussions began after we were approached by a customer to develop a solution for a tablet-based loyalty system and as fate would have it, similar opportunities would present themselves a few months later.
OK, remember how the last part ended? NO! well, something like this:
So where does RBM come in? To explain that one we need to delve into some history and “blow our own horn”.
And we continue:
Here goes (the horn blowing part): In 2014 Lava was the “proud winner” of a contract to supply Canadian Tire with their “Customer Facing in Isle Devices – CFID’s” . Well, let’s just call a spade a spade and a Kiosk a Kiosk – which is what a CFID really is. The first roll out of 880 units had an even more limited usage – It was intended as a internet browser based look up tool for Wiper Blades; yes the type that clear the windshield of a car. Basically – a CFID was/is a Samsung Tablet (Tab4), inside an enclosure, connected to a Lava STS board (BTW if you don’t know what an STS board is then …. Well visit our web site). The Lava electronics allowed the tablet to be connected to wired Ethernet (PoE I might add) and be powered continuously for 24/7 maintenance free operation (there are more features but……).
Everything worked as per plan for; well about 10 months….
This week at LAVA, we had a board meeting where we discussed the new “Simple Overcharge Protection device for a phone” product that the LAVA team is currently working on.
LAVA Computer MFG designs and manufactures computing interfaces and devices – generally for commercial use (in applications where the end-user is generally unaware that a LAVA product is a key component). But, did you know that LAVA has also had success with customer-end products?
Low-pressure molding is a relatively new process (to North Americans) that aims to encapsulate sensitive electronics using a polyamide material. The process was discovered in Germany in the 70’s as a result of the observed effectiveness of using hot melt glue (a polyamide) to strain relieve electrical connections on printed circuit boards (PCBs).
Not a bad slogan if I say so myself – dreamt up by a highly unlikely source: our one of a kind, hot shot salesman; the one and only (thank God that there is only one) Orest Halushka – If and when you call Lava, there is a good chance you may get to talk to him. I’m sure if you ask, he will give you the details of how he came up with the slogan.
The original reason this project came through our doors was that SCI wanted to extend the life of the batteries in the tablets that are at the heart of their AED training kiosks. They asked Samsung for a solution and were referred to Lava and our battery modulation technology. It was then found that their product itself was quite flawed and I was tasked with redesigning it.
A typical USB power supply is rated at 5 volts nominal and a capacity of 1 to 2 amperes. The supply voltage will not be exactly 5 volts, but will vary depending on load (hence the amount of current being drawn). The voltage must never exceed 5.25 volts.
A typical USB Power supply is rated at 10 watts (i.e., 2 amperes at 5 volts DC).
When plugged directly into a generic USB supply, a tablet (or mobile phone) might appear to charge very slowly. This problem is common even when the supply has an adequate current rating. This is generally because the power supply is not a DCP power supply.