Test platform and the stress of travel: the origin of the “PizzaBox” name

Test platform and the stress of travel: the origin of the “PizzaBox” name

The TRL-4 prototype for the LIDAR sensor was intended for laboratory tests only.  It is assembled from a bunch of custom and eval boards, and a lot of long wires.

The connectors (zillions of them, it seems), were never intended to withstand the stress of travel and of multiple reassemblies and dissasemblies that a roadshow implies. It is something we manipulate with great caution.

Then,  back in january/february,we had to take one of those prototypes out for a few demos.  It needed a box to travel in.  The boards were hastily placed in a suitcase that had a flat and square plastic lining, which we used as a base to screw the boards.  When we got it out of that suitcase, the black plastic lining resembled a pizza box.  From that packaging,  this whole generation of prototypes got its code name “PizzaBox” (see the photo at header).

Over a few months, we had numerous iterations of the “PizzaBox” packaging.  Our lab units are solidly anchored on optical tables.  The traveling units eventually  got treated with clear acrylic cases, and sturdier wiring.   Try to get that through customs: you sure get noticed!.

The traveling units  now have gone twice across the world and back, been assembled/dissasembled at least twice a day, and are still functionning like clockwork. It does make us a litlle nervous every time, but, so far, the PizzaBoxes keep on performing solidly.

Life is full of pleaseant surprises!

TRL4-"PizzaBox" lab setup

TRL4-”PizzaBox” lab setup


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