Optical Power and Energy Meter by Thorlabs

Product: PM5020 Dual-Channel Optical Power and Energy Meter Console
Company: Thorlabs
Domain: Industrial
Platform: STM32F7
GUI developed by: Thorlabs

Since 1989, Thorlabs has been a vertically integrated manufacturer of photonics equipment, serving both the academic and industrial markets with a catalog of over 22,000 items. With 22 locations in 9 countries, Thorlabs is committed to same-day order fulfillment for the stocked building blocks it manufactures. Products are utilized in a large variety of applications, ranging from research and development efforts in academia and industry to imaging systems in the life science sector.

Manfred Gonnert — Light Detection and Analysis TeamThorlabs
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Embedded Wizard's user-friendly experience and its seamless adaptability have simplified our GUI creation process, allowing us to bring products to market faster and with more user features. The training with the GUI Services Team proved to be a major benefit as well, expanding our knowledge and helping us implement our individual needs. Along with the wealth of detailed information accessible on the Embedded Wizard website, we were able to quickly realize our design and functionality visions.
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A Call for Change

Creating a user interface for an optical power and energy meter is no easy task. The interface must enable a variety of configurations for measurements, functions, calculators and visualizations, and it must achieve all of this with smooth and fast operation even in environments with low light conditions, such as in the optics laboratory. Thorlabs knows these demands better than most. They accumulated extensive experience in GUI development over several years, employing various commercial solutions. Despite their effectiveness, these systems demanded significant programming expertise along with considerable effort to implement and position individual design elements as well as functionalities. Enter Embedded Wizard – Thorlabs’ game changer. By adopting our GUI solution, Thorlabs successfully addressed these challenges, crafting appealing user interfaces that perfectly align with the modern expectations of touchscreen devices.

Embedded Wizard as the Key to Intuitive User Interfaces

In collaboration with TARA Systems’ Embedded Wizard, Thorlabs elevated the user interfaces of their products, with a spotlight on the Dual-Channel Benchtop Optical Power and Energy Meter Console PM5020. For Thorlabs’ engineers, Embedded Wizard streamlined the development process, allowing the creation of an intuitive, user-friendly interface that meets their key requirements:

  • Implementation of a display with high resolution, providing finer details
  • User-friendly layout, transforming navigation into a seamless and intuitive process
  • Utilization of a low menu hierarchy, streamlining the users’ access to features
  • Integration of smooth graphics, enhancing the visual experience.

The smoother workflow allowed for precise feature implementation, resulting in a product that aligns with Thorlabs’ high standards of usability and functionality. Furthermore, the Basic Training with the GUI Services Team was a crucial step for Thorlabs to deepen and refine their know-how. The team’s expertise and knowledge of the GUI Services Team proved to be highly useful for independent GUI development, helping Thorlabs overcome challenges and instructing them on best practices for their specific requirements, for instance how to avoid anti-patterns.

A Triumph in User-Friendliness

The finished device, based on STM32F7 hardware and featuring a 5” MIPI-DSI display with capacitive touchscreen, has been meticulously crafted for peak performance and an unparalleled user experience. Its standout display, a large and clear TFT color screen, offers intuitive navigation thanks to Embedded Wizard’s contribution. It allows users to effortlessly access readings, navigate settings, and utilize features, making the PM5020 a reliable tool for various applications. The Embedded Wizard GUI software enhances the user interface with clear resolution, easy-to-use layout, and smooth graphics, thereby optimizing and simplifying operations for users. Our joint project has proven to be valuable and fruitful, and the future promises more successful projects.

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