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NK Labs, LLC

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Cambridge, Massachusetts, US

About NK Labs, LLC

We are an engineering product development firm in Cambridge, MA. As product design consultants, we bring our customers' ideas to life and solve their toughest technical challenges. Our team of electrical, mechanical, and software engineers have a diverse range of skills and experiences across many technical... Show more »

We are an engineering product development firm in Cambridge, MA. As product design consultants, we bring our customers' ideas to life and solve their toughest technical challenges. Our team of electrical, mechanical, and software engineers have a diverse range of skills and experiences across many technical fields including consumer electronics, scientific instrumentation, aircraft subsystems, and industrial automation.

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Diversity Certificates

Small business

Our Services (16)


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Tooling

Price on request
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Device Prototyping

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Engineering and Fabrication

Price on request

NK Labs is an product development engineering firm. We provide electrical, mechanical, firmware, and software contract engineering. Our company offers engineering design consulting on consumer electronics, medical devices, aviation components, scientific instrumentation, manufacturing equipment, and software. Our clients range... Show more »

NK Labs is an product development engineering firm. We provide electrical, mechanical, firmware, and software contract engineering. Our company offers engineering design consulting on consumer electronics, medical devices, aviation components, scientific instrumentation, manufacturing equipment, and software. Our clients range from newly-funded startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Design

We are prepared to engage in a product at any stage in its design cycle. Some of our customers bring us an “idea-on-a-napkin” concept, and we take it from there, with frequent interaction, to design and build a working prototype. With others, we are brought in as members of a large, global team and work closely with their in-house marketing, product design, engineering, and supply chain teams to cooperatively develop and release a product. Still other clients come to us with a fully-detailed specification for a specific sub-component needed for a much larger system.

Production

We have a large network of suppliers throughout the US and Asia who we work with to source parts and assemblies for our customers. We are also happy to work with your existing vendors and contract manufacturers. We can provide you with a complete build package with bill of materials, part drawings, CAD models, process instructions, source code, and binaries. For new product introductions, we can work on-location at the factory to get the design into volume production.

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Equipment Design

Price on request

NK Labs provides expert automation consulting and machine design services to our clients. As mechanical design consultants, our team has designed and assembled automated machines, scientific instrumentation, and robotic systems for a variety of applications.

Per the client, we can pick up a project at any point from conceptual... Show more »

NK Labs provides expert automation consulting and machine design services to our clients. As mechanical design consultants, our team has designed and assembled automated machines, scientific instrumentation, and robotic systems for a variety of applications.

Per the client, we can pick up a project at any point from conceptual brainstorming, preliminary designs, to full-scale prototypes, and we can also assist with final manufacturing solutions. NK Labs can accommodate projects from small, commercial-off-the-shelf designs to fully custom machine engineering, and we can address all aspects of robotics engineering with our skilled electrical, software, and machine design consultants.

​We have designed/built:

​- Semiconductor manufacturing equipment

  • X-ray inspection equipment
  • Robotic end effectors, grippers, manipulators
  • Power tools
  • Photometric imaging systems
  • Pneumatic and hydraulic systems
  • Machining equipment
  • High-precision and high-force motion stages
  • Biotech lab equipment
  • Laser tweezers
  • Vacuum systems
  • Motor test stands
  • 3D printers
  • Temperature and humidity control
  • Optical design

​A machine design project begins with understanding the customer's goals and requirements. We can work with you to determine a suitable technology approach, design the machine in your preferred CAD software, and build a working prototype. Once the machine is proven for your application, we can follow up with short-run production to supply you with additional machines as needed, to outfit your factory or lab.

​Machines designed by NK Labs are in daily use in factories, laboratories, and offices throughout the world.

Additional Services

Alongside designing the product, we also offer thorough model analysis (structural, thermal, CFD, etc.) as appropriate for the project. Our team is also highly skilled at enclosure design and housings for internal mechanisms and electronics. Beyond mechanical engineering, we excel at electronic development: from circuit design, to FPGA programming, to all of your software needs.

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Circuit Fabrication

Price on request

NK Labs provides schematic and circuit design and development services to our clients. Our electrical design consultants have completed the custom design and testing of hundreds of printed circuit boards (PCBs) for a variety of applications across many industries, including avionics, consumer electronics, and automation. Our firm... Show more »

NK Labs provides schematic and circuit design and development services to our clients. Our electrical design consultants have completed the custom design and testing of hundreds of printed circuit boards (PCBs) for a variety of applications across many industries, including avionics, consumer electronics, and automation. Our firm typically does a new design-start about once a week, and has extensive experience as a PCB design consulting service.

Capabilities

​- Analog and mixed-signal design

  • High-speed digital design
  • Design for ultra-low power
  • Design of low-noise or high precision instrumentation
  • Design for low cost, high-volume production
  • UL / CE / FCC etc. ; agency approvals for world-wide shipping
  • Switch-mode power supply design
  • RF circuits, synthesizers, mixers, phased-locked loops
  • Antenna design, stripline design, finite element analysis
    ​- A/D front ends, sensor and signal conditioning
  • Switchmode power supplies, off-line switchers
  • Power electronics, motor controllers
  • Wireless charging and wireless power transmission
  • Capacitive and inductive sensors
  • Near Field Communication (NFC)
  • Discretes to 01005, BGA's to 0.35 mm pitch
  • Embedded components
  • HDI, Flex, Rigid-Flex, blind/buried vias
  • Stretchable and wearable electronics​
  • Industries:
    • Smartphones
    • Aerospace
    • Medical​​

Specification and Block Diagram

​Designing a new board starts by meeting with the customer to determine the requirements. Then, we write a complete specification, describing all the functional requirements, input and output interfaces, size and power requirements, and similar. Next, we draw a block diagram, and select the major components. After doing this, we do a thorough review with the customer and talk through the use cases to make sure no requirements have been missed.

Schematic Design

The next step is schematic design. We draw the detailed schematic in Altium, and select all of the components. If there are critical analog portions of the circuit, we typically simulate them in SPICE at this stage, and calculate key parameters. We consult with our software team to learn about the software requirements for the board and make sure that microcontroller and FPGA pins are properly assigned. Finally, we do a schematic review, first internally, and then with the customer, to catch any remaining issues.

Layout

​With the schematic in-hand, the next step is layout. We work with our mechanical engineering group to generate a mechanical component outline for the PCB, with defines the board boundary, height requirements, connector and fastener locations, and any other mechanical constraints. Then we create the footprints and lay out the traces. For simple boards we will typically lay out the traces in-house. For very complicated boards, we will bring on a layout specialist from one of our layout partners. We use POLARIS to calculate layer stack-ups and trace impedances, and can use COMSOL multiphysics to do antenna design and other electromagnetic analysis if needed.

Fabrication

​Once the layout is complete, we do a layout review, then send the Gerber files to one of our PCB fabrication vendors for fabrication. We can get boards fabricated in as little as one business day, although this comes at a premium. A typical PCB fabrication time is three days, although it can be longer for boards with HDI, flex, or filled vias.

Assembly

​For simple boards with just a few components, we may do the assembly by hand in our office. For complex boards, especially boards with fine-pitch components or BGAs, we have the boards drop shipped from the printed circuit fabricator to one of our PCB assembly assembly partners, who stencil on solder paste, assemble the boards using a pick-and-place machine, and solder the boards in a conveyor oven. Then, they inspect the boards (using X-ray if needed), correct any assembly issues, and ship the completed boards to us.

Preparing for Bring-Up

​PCB bring-up is the process of testing a new board for the first time and validating that it functions correctly. While the boards are being fabricated and assembled, the design engineer creates a bring-up plan. During this period we build test adapters and tooling if needed. We have a large stock of electronic test equipment at NK Labs, but if something is needed that we don't have, we work with several rental companies who can provide us the exact right piece of equipment on short notice. Partway through the schematic design phase, the software group will typically begin working on bring-up code, so we can be ready to test the boards on the day they arrive.

Bring-Up

​The day the first assembled boards for a new project arrive at NK Labs is an exciting day indeed for the design engineers involved. Bring-up typically starts with an ohmmeter test to ensure that the power rails are not shorted to each other, then applying power (the "smoke test") and checking that the power rail voltages are correct. After this, the designers and programmers go methodically through each and every function of the board, no matter how small, to ensure that it works as intended. When errors are found, our in-house rework technician can fix them by replacing components, cutting traces, or adding wires, so that testing can resume.

​Prototype Delivery

​Once bring-up complete, we will order more boards, test them, and turn some over to the software group to use for feature development, and some to the mechanical engineering group to use for building functional prototypes of the product. On a PCB-only job, we would deliver the boards to the customer at this point, or travel to the customer site to help their in-house engineers integrate the board into the product.

Data Delivery

​We provide you with a complete data package, including specification, block diagram, schematic, layout, Gerber files, pick and place files, assembly process instructions, and testing instructions. You will not be locked into any one contract manufacturer; you will own the design and can send this package to any manufacturer to get more boards.

Production

NK Labs has extensive experience in manufacturing. We can help you in bringing the product to market in both small or large volumes. We are also able to transfer the design knowledge to your own manufacturing team and we can work on-site at the factory on your behalf to get your product into steady volume production.

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Robotics Engineering

Price on request

NK Labs provides expert automation consulting and machine design services to our clients. As mechanical design consultants, our team has designed and assembled automated machines, scientific instrumentation, and robotic systems for a variety of applications.

Per the client, we can pick up a project at any point from conceptual... Show more »

NK Labs provides expert automation consulting and machine design services to our clients. As mechanical design consultants, our team has designed and assembled automated machines, scientific instrumentation, and robotic systems for a variety of applications.

Per the client, we can pick up a project at any point from conceptual brainstorming, preliminary designs, to full-scale prototypes, and we can also assist with final manufacturing solutions. NK Labs can accommodate projects from small, commercial-off-the-shelf designs to fully custom machine engineering, and we can address all aspects of robotics engineering with our skilled electrical, software, and machine design consultants.

​We have designed/built:

​- Semiconductor manufacturing equipment

  • X-ray inspection equipment
  • Robotic end effectors, grippers, manipulators
  • Power tools
  • Photometric imaging systems
  • Pneumatic and hydraulic systems
  • Machining equipment
  • High-precision and high-force motion stages
  • Biotech lab equipment
  • Laser tweezers
  • Vacuum systems
  • Motor test stands
  • 3D printers
  • Temperature and humidity control
  • Optical design

​A machine design project begins with understanding the customer's goals and requirements. We can work with you to determine a suitable technology approach, design the machine in your preferred CAD software, and build a working prototype. Once the machine is proven for your application, we can follow up with short-run production to supply you with additional machines as needed, to outfit your factory or lab.

​Machines designed by NK Labs are in daily use in factories, laboratories, and offices throughout the world.

Additional Services

Alongside designing the product, we also offer thorough model analysis (structural, thermal, CFD, etc.) as appropriate for the project. Our team is also highly skilled at enclosure design and housings for internal mechanisms and electronics. Beyond mechanical engineering, we excel at electronic development: from circuit design, to FPGA programming, to all of your software needs.

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Signal Processing

Price on request

NK Labs has developed a number of signal and image processing solutions and has implemented them in general-purpose microcontrollers, in specialized DSP processors, and in FPGAs.

Capabilities

​- Array processing; sonar and radar signal processing

  • Video and audio compression
  • Filters and correlators
  • PID control
    -... Show more »

NK Labs has developed a number of signal and image processing solutions and has implemented them in general-purpose microcontrollers, in specialized DSP processors, and in FPGAs.

Capabilities

​- Array processing; sonar and radar signal processing

  • Video and audio compression
  • Filters and correlators
  • PID control
  • Model-based control
  • System identification
  • Sampling theory: design of A/D and D/A sampling and reconstruction filters
  • Fixed point math
  • FFT convolution
  • Software radio: demodulation and equalization
  • FIR and IIR filters, windowing, filter design
  • Detection and estimation theory, receiver operating curve
  • Adaptive filters (Weiner filter, Kalman filter)
  • Sensor fusion
  • Image processing and enhancement, feature extraction
  • Removal of lens and sensor artifacts from camera images
  • Processing of X-ray images
  • DSP code, including SMID instructions, circular buffers, zero-overhead looping
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Medical Device Development

Price on request

NK Labs has designed early-stage concept prototypes for new, innovative medical devices. We have experience in wearable medical sensors, medical imaging, surgical tools, and implants. Our prototypes are typically used for preclinical studies, to prove out basic technical feasibility for a new concept. We have clinician contacts at... Show more »

NK Labs has designed early-stage concept prototypes for new, innovative medical devices. We have experience in wearable medical sensors, medical imaging, surgical tools, and implants. Our prototypes are typically used for preclinical studies, to prove out basic technical feasibility for a new concept. We have clinician contacts at Harvard Medical School, The Brigham, MGH, Boston Children’s Hospital, Mass Eye & Ear, and MD Anderson, as well as other medical research hospitals.

Capabilities

​- Wearable and wireless medical sensors

  • Medical imaging
  • Magnet design
  • Radiation physics
  • Mobile healthcare
  • Transmission of power and data through the skin
  • Mechanical surgical tools, handheld surgical devices
  • Catheters
  • Hermetically sealed electrical enclosures/capsules (laser welding, feed thru, etc)
  • Bio-compatible insulators, conductors, and other implantable materials
  • Parylene-C and silicone coatings, biocompatible epoxy headers
  • Alumina and zirconia ceramic insulators, Pt/Ir contacts
  • Implantable connectors
  • Osseointegration
  • Neurostimulation electrodes
  • Blood and saline flow in small channels (including CFD)
  • Peristaltic pumps and valves
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Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

Price on request

A mathematical model can be used to predict important properties of a device, based on its geometry, tabulated material properties, and the equations describing relevant physics. We do standalone modeling and analysis projects, and also use modeling frequently in our design process.

Capabilities

​- Structural mechanics
-... Show more »

A mathematical model can be used to predict important properties of a device, based on its geometry, tabulated material properties, and the equations describing relevant physics. We do standalone modeling and analysis projects, and also use modeling frequently in our design process.

Capabilities

​- Structural mechanics

  • Heat transfer and thermodynamics
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
  • Electric and magnetic fields
  • Electric currents
  • Electromagnetic waves
  • Radiation physics
  • Particle tracing
  • Finite Element Modeling
  • Partial and ordinary differential equations
  • Algebraic models
  • Monte Carlo models
  • Multiphysics simulation
  • Optimization of geometry

​The first and simplest tool for a physics model is a pencil and paper, which is usually sufficient. Another quick modeling tool is SolidWorks with built in simulation functions that are useful for finding stress concentrations and deflection of the part.

​For finite element modeling of structural, electrical, thermal, and fluidic systems, or for full-custom equation-based PDE modeling, we typically use COMSOL Multiphysics. We use the SolidWorks livelink and the Optimization module, which we use to perform overnight nonlinear constrained optimization on part geometries.

We also use a number of domain-specific tools. We frequently use ANSYS Mechanical to calculate normal modes in aerospace parts, check for engineering margins, and to optimize the parts for weight. For printed circuits, we use POLAR to design stackups and calculate trace specifications. For radiation physics, we use GEANT4 from CERN. Finally, for full-custom from-scratch physical modeling, we typically use MATLAB.

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Medical Devices & Diagnostics

Price on request

Medical Devices & Diagnostics Services

Medical Devices & Diagnostics Services

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Equipment

Price on request

Equipment & Software Services

Equipment & Software Services

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Electronic Manufacturing

Price on request

Electronic Fabrication Services

Electronic Fabrication Services

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Device Development

Price on request

Devices Services

Devices Services

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Electronics

Price on request

Electronics Services

Electronics Services

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Computational Modeling

Price on request

Computational Modeling Services

Computational Modeling Services

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Manufacturing Services

Price on request

Manufacturing Services

Manufacturing Services

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Ara Knaian

Principal Engineer

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