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Intro to Hardware Design

A Practical Guide to the Hardware Arts

Hardware design once occupied a very specialized niche in the engineering arts; but as the demand for IoT solutions has grown, along with the maturation of the hardware needed to support them, and of course the massive movement to work-from-home as a product of the COVID pandemic, increasingly, complex hardware is designed by regular engineers in labs and offices at home.

Photo of two prototype smart thermostat boards: the left uses components on a breadboard, the right using components on a custom PCB.

Hardware design and development can be an intimidating endeavor, especially when first starting out. However, the process of designing and producing hardware isn't terribly different than that of software, and with a little guidance, much of it can be done in a modestly equipped at-home office turned hardware lab.

This guide is an attempt to demystify common hardware design and build tasks to enable ordinary software engineers and developers to bring their skills to hardware. It explores the practical arts of common design and build tasks, as well as how to take a prototype design into production.

As such, there is a heavy focus on this guide on using DIY techniques to produce first-quality designs that can easily be taken to scale production.

It's worth noting that this is an in-process, living guide, captured from our own learnings in the past few years, bringing the Meadow platform and hardware to life.

Next: Hardware/Product Design Lifecycle