SOURCE: Product Development Technologies (PDT)

Product Development Technologies (PDT)

October 27, 2011 10:05 ET

Product Development Technologies Earns Spark:Pro Award for Design of iPhone-Enabled SATCOM Device

SCOUT Satellite Communications Toolkit Packs 160 Pounds of Equipment Into Six-Pound Package

LAKE ZURICH, IL--(Marketwire - Oct 27, 2011) - Global product development firm Product Development Technologies (PDT) has been recognized by the international Spark:Pro Awards for its design of the SCOUT™ satellite communications device.

Conceived and manufactured by Coolfire Solutions, LLC, the SCOUT (Satellite Communications Operational User Toolkit) dramatically streamlines the process of setting up, monitoring and troubleshooting a mobile satellite link. It replaces several cases of equipment -- each with a different user interface -- into one ultra-compact device controlled by an Apple iPhone or iPad.

"We're thrilled to be recognized for helping create a product that will transform how the military handles satellite communications in the battlefield," said Tim J. Morton, PDT's design director. "The Spark:Pro Awards honor design innovation, and our design for the SCOUT packs a massive amount of innovation into an incredibly small package."

PDT was tasked by Coolfire Solutions to create the innovative design that converts what was previously 160 pounds of equipment into a single device that weighs just six pounds. That makes it 27 times lighter than the US Military's current equipment used by soldiers in the field. SCOUT is lightweight and ergonomic, yet rugged enough to survive daily use by the military. It's also very easy to operate; even someone with little or no advanced training can use the iPhone-controlled SCOUT to locate, acquire and verify a satellite communications link.

"Our vision was to pack all the bulky SATCOM equipment used in the battlefield into a simple handheld device," said Coolfire Solutions President Tom Cox. "SCOUT is the first such device to bring the user-friendly interface of smartphones to the highly technical SATCOM industry."

PDT designed and engineered every element of the SCOUT, while Coolfire Solutions developed the mobile applications that run on an iPhone or iPad.

PDT assigned a multi-disciplinary team to the project. Its electrical engineering specialists created the internal electronic architecture, while its software designers developed protocols that enable the new device to function with an iPhone. PDT's mechanical design team then figured out how to connect everything and pack it all into such a small package, while the industrial design team worked on ergonomics, ruggedness and overall design identity. Finally, the prototyping team built the initial prototype unit.

The annual Spark:Pro Awards competition honors exceptional design in a range of categories including architecture, graphics, and industrial/consumer products. The awards celebrate the ability of design to act as a catalyst, address problems, and improve lives. Winners of the 2011 Awards were selected by an international jury of experts from design, media and academia.

More info about the SCOUT satellite communications device is available at

About Coolfire Solutions
Coolfire Solutions is a mobile development studio that focuses on creating solutions for the military and intelligence communities that bring simplicity to the battlefield. Defense contractors create fantastic technologies, yet the user interfaces for this technology are typically cumbersome, outdated, and difficult to learn. Coolfire Solutions is committed to making battlefield technology easier to use by leveraging commercially available equipment and conventions in military applications.

About PDT
Product Development Technologies, Inc. (PDT) is a full-service product development firm with eight offices worldwide. Team members have expertise in a wide range of product development disciplines including strategy, design research, industrial design, user interface development, electrical and mechanical engineering, software development, laser scanning, and tooling. PDT's award-winning product designs have been recognized by BusinessWeek, the Industrial Designers Society of America, Design Journal, The Consumer Electronics Association, Inc. Magazine, Chicago Athenaeum of Architecture and Design, and Parametric Technologies Corporation. PDT is headquartered in Lake Zurich, Illinois. More information is available at

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    Product Development Technologies, Inc.
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    Marketing Communications
    Product Development Technologies, Inc.
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