INNOVATION
in HMI PROTOTYPING and EMBEDDED DEVELOPMENT

ACTIVITIES

Embedded Know-How
at the service of
User Experience

IMAGEM Technology® knows how to propose services and products dedicated to users, that is to say answering each customer profile and able to adapt to any architecture.
IMAGEM Technology®  is a company that relies on the talent of its technical stakeholders to provide solutions adapted to the needs of its customers and their desire to get involved in the field of Human Machine Interface. Whatever the level of knowledge of its customers in this field, their know-how in embedded development makes it possible to support technological projects in their visible part, their experience makes it possible to avoid pitfalls in their design, implementation and maintenance.
The scope ofd’IMAGEM Technology®‘s customer profiles should range from technical experts to passionate designers, with products adapted to the people involved in the project. This perspective allows them to focus on their own challenges when the need for HMI is not part of it.
For major projects or important challenges, IMAGEM Technology® proposes services and products dedicated to users, i.e. responding to each customer profile and able to adapt to any architecture. The constant search for the user experience is the spirit that inspires all the company’s choices.

Acting rather than saying !

It is through pragmatism that IMAGEM Technology® has always wanted and still wants to exist. By the way, to testify to this principle, each competence or quality asserted in what follows, is supported by concrete achievements and facts in the section “Acts beyond words”“.

SKILLS

Multi-platform Embedded Development

A know-how based on experience

Our know-how based on experience is appreciated by our permanent concern to hide the technical details that make the use of our creations natural and intuitive, even in the production of prototypes. For us, the project does not stop with the functional operation of a system, but must go beyond it by being robust to operational hazards, including monitoring resources and preparing maintenance phases. This technical pragmatism, resulting from a long experience, can be made invisible to our customers, to be perceived only as a way to achieve their own objective without any pitfalls and without project risks.
The realization and participation in multiple Concepts Cars for the automotive industry or technology demonstrators for the military or aeronautics, testifies to this ability to participate in innovative developments intended to be presented to a wide audience. Our experience makes it possible to minimize the undesirable effects due to the novelty of the products presented and the unforeseen events related to events, for presentations that must be flawless in the eyes of visitors.

The sensibility of the Embedded

The term “embedded” is used very broadly today and the answers are often linked to the notion of miniaturization of components and their integration capacity. For IMAGEM Technology®, this word is associated above all with notions of limited material resources, Real Time and development constraints. Our ambition has always been to allow, even on small systems, to offer modern solutions oriented towards the user and making them forget the constraints specific to embedded equipment.
The automotive market is the historical axis, but Imagem provides transversal solutions for many embedded sectors (industry, aeronautics…).
By transferring its hybrid technology to a major automotive supplier, Johnson Controls, now Visteon, IMAGEM Technology® has enabled its customer to offer dynamic and quality displays to drivers, despite the strong economic constraints in this sector. From 2007 to 2020, the OEM produced more than 8 million cluster-type equipment, including the Man-Machine Interface of its integrated display, based entirely on the first-generation ATHLET® concept, implemented on Intel FPGA components (ex Altera).

A technology-oriented business model

IMAGEM Technology® shares its skills with its partners and customers by providing added value in its own products. In addition to its off-the-shelf product offer,, the company also knows how to adapt to specific customer needs through dedicated tailor-made projects. And although we are a small company limiting its commitments in terms of number of projects, each objective chosen concentrates the energy of the company’s stakeholders for the success of our client’s achievements. Involvement in projects is decided on the basis of our convictions and our confidence that our know-how is adapted to the customer’s needs. Economic logic is not the driving force behind our choices.
Involvement, competence and total customer satisfaction are the indicators of pride that we call professionalism.
The realization or participation in multiple advanced development projects for the automotive, military or aeronautics industries, as part of the realization of demonstrators for their communication, testifies to a reliable involvement in events at the cutting edge of technology and under high pressure.

Adapting to diversity

One of IMAGEM Technology®‘s major strengths is its ability to adapt to a double diversity: that of its customer profiles and that of its systems.

Diversity of user profile:
From customers side, some needs often exist to prove their own technology or competencies on systems requiring a display. The problem appears in this case because the external appreciation of their added value goes through the visual part of their system, becoming then dependent of their graphics and GUI choices. This situation can lead to an strong investment on the visual part of the system instead of concentrating effort on the functional one, which can be dramatical or insurmountable for small companies. The requirements of embedded and stand-alone system makes an additional obstacle. The range of IMAGEM Technology®‘s customer profiles is expected to go from technical experts to passionate designers, with adapted products to people involved in project. This view allows them to focus on their own challenges when the HMI need is not one of them. To fit embedded requirements and propose HMI prototyping systems, IMAGEM Technology® has developed a strong expertise in Video & Graphics technologies, and has introduced in their solutions High Level concepts allowing to hide the internal technical complexity to their customers.

Technical diversity and material evolution:
IMAGEM Technology® was built in 2004 on originality and innovation, making it possible to meet the dynamic and quality needs of Human Machine Interfaces when widely distributed products did not exist. It was then a pioneer company in the popularization of complex video and graphic techniques. Today, the expansion of hardware solutions and display technologies has shifted the technical complexity towards a diversity of exploitation of the proposed solutions.
Our know-how now depends for our customers only on an expertise intended to be made available in a popular way, but also on our ability to adapt to different development environments and to master existing solutions.
In a world where material choices are rapidly declining, IMAGEM Technology® seeks to remain the beacon to guarantee the economic course for companies that do not have the resources or strategy to follow the diversity and technological evolution of display systems.
Thanks to its ability to adapt to the unique profile of its customers, Imagem Technology® can offer technical solutions to teams of experts (such as automotive equipment manufacturers or industrial companies) as well as services to communication departments (such as the Design departments of automobile manufacturers). All the projects, some of which are presented in the web site gallery, testify to this ambition to adapt to the needs of its interlocutors. The solutions developed by Imagem Technology® have been proposed in many aspects but always in the form of turnkey solutions, in order to best meet the different needs and profiles of its customers (Intellectual Property Block for FPGA, HMI coprocessing card, 5 generations of embedded prototyping boxes, or complete prototype demonstrators). In an era where hardware solutions offer the means to express the creativity of designers on screens, innovation today requires mastering existing technologies to aggregate them into a whole designed to convey a company’s ideas, concepts and messages according to its objectives. This often leads to the use of uncured consumer products, even in embedded applications. In the realization of Renault’s Trezor Car Concept (2016), IMAGEM Technology® has designed and built a distributed architecture that perfectly meets the design and Human Machine Interface needs of its customer and relies on no less than 4 different architecture ECUs (proprietary cooperative OS, Linux, Android) to consistently manage the 5 screens that make up the demonstrator.

EXPERTISE

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.
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.
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® 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..
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 company, this technological revolution that is taking place is for you and now has a name: MAGNETO Studio®
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?
More than an evolution, MAGNETO Studio® is a capitalization of the unique experience and a result of IMAGEM Technology® in terms of development and embedded GUIs.