Human Machine Interface Engines

The starting point

Our know-how based on experience is appreciated by our permanent concern to hide the technical According to the initial convictions of the company’s founders, the embedded industry needs low-cost graphical user interface (GUI) solutions that meet the requirements of designers with minimal development effort. On paper, candidates exist but they all need a powerful hardware platform to be successfully integrated. To exist, they must deal with the demands of the volume-related market, which is rarely compatible with embedded constraints or more specific needs. In addition, their use requires a technical and sometimes strategic investment by the company. Imagem Technology®‘s philosophy since its inception has been to hide the technical complexity of the graphic domain in order to allow the user to focus on his own skills and challenges, while its history has led it to develop its software know-how on small systems with low resources..

Actions beyond words

The first software processors («soft CPU») were introduced into FPGA technology at the beginning of the millennium by Altera, opening up a new avenue of investigation. By combining the strength of electronics and the intelligence of an integrated CPU, a new way of thinking and opportunities based on complementary skills have opened up.

IMAGEM Technology® was a pioneer in this hybrid FPGA technology, and the first company to be able to use generic components to build a high-quality, dynamic graphical interface on a chip-based FPGA system

A capacity for Innovation that does not run out of steam

Since 2003, the introduction of CPUs softwares in programmable cell networks (FPGAs) has allowed the company’s founders to be the first to imagine using these components for embedded displays, and to invent hybrid technology for high-level multi-screen video and graphics management. Their convictions: to integrate the tools of user sensation into a wired motor, allowing them to offer dynamism, transparency and optimal quality on low-resolution screens. This idea gave rise to two patents recognized at the French and European level.

The company made its first notable steps in the fields of video and graphic solutions for embedded systems in 2004. In the development of a display technology that breaks with the existing ones, based on generic FPGA components, IMAGEM Technology® has been able to impose its name in the field of industry and embedded systems by simplifying and popularizing the use of its graphic solutions through its “ATHLET®” concept, in which, within the same component, the network of programmable cells, acting as muscles, guaranteed visual performance, while a processor acting as a brain, provided openness to graphic standards and high-level conceptual management

From 2007 to 2012, while the battle for standards for the implementation of HMIs is settling between the major software companies, motivated in particular by performance limitations on office machines that are nevertheless overpowering, IMAGEM Technology® will remain the only company to have developed and industrialized its own Flash® engine on FPGA integrating a soft CPU of less than 100 Mips (Million Instructions Per Second). Industrial baking ovens benefit from this technology to offer complex, dynamic and attractive user interfaces to the end user.

This know-how of the company in terms of HMI will allow it to proudly participate from 2016 to 2019 alongside the leading players in the aeronautics sector (Airbus, Zodiac,…) in the SEFA-IKKY project, financed by the Programme d’ Investissements d’Avenir (Future Investment Programme), aimed at stimulating Innovation in the cockpits of future aircraft.

In 2018, faced with the success of the Qt framework in the embedded fields, and in parallel with this work, IMAGEM Technology® took up the challenge of running the framework on the smallest matrix of Intel’s FPGA family (MAX10), thus allowing the user to benefit on these industrial components from all the tools in the development chain that contribute to Qt’s success.

From 2019, the French company aims to provide a universal response, in line with its vision of User Experience, to the development of a Human Machine Interface for industrial products or products with embedded constraints.

Actions beyond words

IMAGEM Technology® was considered from its birth as a start-up recognized under the French status of J.E.I. (“Jeune Entreprise Innovante”).

In May 2008, the company received a “Golden Electron”, a symbol of innovation awarded by the publication “Electronique”, for its original HMI solution.

The Independence of Imagem Technology®, both from a technical and commercial point of view, allows it to be part of an Innovation approach recognized at the French level within assisted projects (OSEO, Programme d’ Investissements d’ Avenir, etc.). It is also thanks to this that its expertise takes on a new dimension by proposing technologies capable of leading to profitable business models even with small production volumes (for example by benefiting from an embedded response and the advantages of the Adobe Flash ecosystem when designing a complex HMI for industrial furnaces).

A long journey towards modern HMI

The initial approach of the ATHLET® concepts was already similar to an approach that facilitated the unlimited creation of a Man-Machine Interface, and foreshadowed IMAGEM Technology®‘s modern ambition to strive towards the satisfaction of the User Experience.

From 2007, the company is betting that the embedded development world will enter a new era, where tools will transform the role of developers in the realization of complex HMIs. The explosion of needs and the need for innovation in terms of HMI may make traditional programming methods, based on the use of software components through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), inappropriate. It is now the ecosystem proposed around the solutions that becomes a key factor in the success of product use.

The need to move away from the traditional development approach by elevating its solutions to the rank of “engine” of HMI has made it possible to:

  • extend the graphic possibilities by masking their complexity, and thus the possibilities of innovation at the level of HMIs.
  • shift the technical complexity of development to tools that can be used by more designers profiles.
  • make the link in the development flow with consumer office automation tools to accelerate the design and development phases, introducing the concept of ecosystem in its products.

In 2012, the assumed choice of Adobe Adobe Flash® as the only approach available at the time to allow the development of a Creative Man-Machine Interface without limits through existing software tools used by large companies’ design teams, reinforced the company’s need to offer a high level development flow and eco-system in its products.

Actions beyond words

To facilitate the use of its HMI solutions, IMAGEM Technology® developed in 2013, in partnership with a French manufacturer, an HMI co-processing card integrating its own embedded Flash engine, and powered by a proprietary cooperative operating system.
This autonomous card was intended to be controlled through a low-speed serial link by an industrial system guaranteeing the functional needs of the customer.

In 2014, despite the emerging controversy over the adoption of the Adobe Flash® solution for embedded use by the world’s leading IT companies, IMAGEM Technology® decided to change its trajectory to take it to the next level of what it imagined would be the needs of the future HMI.

As the only company to have developed and industrialized its own Flash® engine on FPGAs with a soft CPU of less than 100 Mips, this first step allowed the company to confirm the feasibility of offering solutions oriented towards the User Experience and capable of overcoming the constraints of the embedded, even on equipment with limited resources.

The Ultimate Step

For 15 years, IMAGEM Technology® has been developing its embedded FPGA-based technology to open it to widely used standards and tools. With no real competition in 2004 in the field for hardware components to offer a graphics and video solution on small systems, the ATHLET® technology, invented and developed by the company, now faces a wide choice of components whose power is much greater than that of the FPGA, bridges the differences in terms of visible performance and changes economic rules.

The spirit of competition and the search for new challenges are part of the genes that continue to drive IMAGEM Technology® and push the company towards new challenges. It is now becoming necessary to capitalize on the company’s unique experience and embedded know-how on higher-level issues. True to our original convictions, we are looking to the profile of the new generation of software development players to provide them with answers adapted to changing behaviors and working methods.

Our understanding of user expectations to benefit from modern Human Machine Interface on embedded equipment, on a par with consumer products, combining the need for Innovation and that of better control, can only be translated into a pragmatic response based on a chain of integrated software tools.

Through the scope of its knowledge and experience, the company’s expertise and know-how always seek to adapt to any type of customer need. By developing its own software in direct link with its embedded competence, the company wants to keep its privileged contact as close as possible to the need to cultivate its philosophy of User Experience. After having proven its worth with major technology companies, IMAGEM Technology® now wants to address itself more particularly to self-employed workers, VSEs and SMEs to offer reactive and low-cost solutions.

Whether you are a Small, Medium or Large Enterprise,
this technological revolution is for you!

Actions beyond words

The year 2019 will mark the major evolution of IMAGEM Technology® towards a software refocusing of its solutions, always oriented towards User Experience and able to make people forget the constraints of the embedded, even on equipment with limited resources.

Which designer, especially in embedded domains, has never dreamed of seeing his creation run identically on the final product?

The direct passage from the creation of the mind to the metal layers of microprocessors is now possible, without the tedious and until then unavoidable intervention of the software development phases.

Discover the Magneto Studio® solution from IMAGEM Technology®!