Critical Link


Critical Link is an embedded systems development firm with expertise in a broad range of electronics applications, providing Systems Engineering, Software, and Hardware Design services, and custom product development support. We can contribute to your project anywhere in the product development lifecycle. Our off-the-shelf SOMs, baseboard designs, and imaging platforms act as building blocks proven to accelerate product development and minimize upfront investment.


Our engineers deliver technical expertise when you need it, whether to augment your internal development team, or to fully offload portions of your project onto us. The diversity in skills and experience of our staff means you have access to engineers who can address any aspect of embedded systems design, including:


  • Systems Engineering
  • FPGA Design
  • Digital & Analog Design
  • Schematic Capture / Layout
  • Real-time Embedded Software Development
  • Embedded Linux Software Development
  • PC Software Development


Production-Ready Board Design

Our team designs hundreds of boards every year, from very small footprints that minimize size, weight and power, to large, complex, high layer-count designs.


Baseboard Design

  • Baseboards provide the connection between the SOM and the external interfaces in your system. Our extensive work in industrial, medical, and scientific markets complements our ability to develop everything from high speed analog interfaces, to highly accurate, low speed interfaces.

System On Module (SOM) Customization

  • Our unique capability to develop a custom SOM, specific to your needs, lies in our design expertise, broad embedded systems engineering experience, hardware and software development skills, and our vast knowledge of digital and analog signal processing.
  • SOMs can also be customized from our off-the-shelf variants in order to meet specific requirements or to minimize recurring costs.

Single Board Computer (SBC) Design

  • In cases where the SOM approach is not feasible, we work with customers to develop SBC solutions. As with our SOMs, we have the capability to design SBCs around a variety of processors, memory, and I/O to meet your requirements.

Board Support Package (BSP)

  • With the development of a custom baseboard, generally a customized board support package is also required. We provide a base BSP for each of our SOMs and can easily adapt it to your baseboard, including the drivers and interface software and firmware, to provide a comprehensive BSP that will support your entire hardware platform.

Industrial Imaging Design

Our depth of experience in image sensor technology, SoC and FPGA design, vision protocols, and signal processing expertise uniquely position us as a premier development partner in embedded imaging system design. We work with OEMs in to develop and manufacture cost-effective, custom imaging platforms around a variety of technologies.


Sensor Board Development

  • We design imaging platforms around a wide
    array of image sensor technology, including CMOS, CCD, linescan, InGaAs, infrared/NIR, and others.

On-Board Processing

  • As the heart and brains of our imaging platforms, our MitySOM-5CSX and MitySOM-A10S feature ARM processors and FPGA fabric inside the Intel/Altera SoC. We open up the fabric, which means your custom image processing algorithms can be housed entirely within the camera itself.
  • We also implement OpenCL and HLS for FPGA development and
    application acceleration. With our OpenCL solution, many of the most demanding embedded imaging applications can be implemented without requiring a PC in the loop.

Interfaces & Protocols

  • We offer multiple interfaces and imaging protocol options, including MIPI, HDMI, USB3 Vision®, GigE Vision, Camera Link,
    USB 2, Ethernet, GenICam, DisplayPort, and others. I/O boards can be customized to accommodate any combination of interfaces, power requirements, and form factor.

Mechanical Design

  • Customers often have an existing enclosure or footprint that their imaging platform must fit within, however when they don’t we are well-equipped to engineer the mechanical design of your imaging system. This includes the integration of the electronics into your mechanical enclosure to provide a new production-suitable package.

Systems Engineering

Critical Link stands apart from other embedded systems design organizations in our ability to provide complete systems engineering services. Not all of our customers ask us to take on this level of responsibility, but those who do can be sure a high quality system will be designed, laying a solid foundation for smooth implementation.


When we design components that are part of a larger system, we take into consideration all external interactions, and the constraints they impose. Our systems engineering expertise includes:

  • Requirements analysis
  • Algorithm design
  • Photonics
  • Control system design
  • Communications system design
  • Digital signal processing
  • System test

Hardware & FPGA Design Capabilities

We support our clients along every step of the hardware development cycle, from product concept through manufacturing and beyond.


Our team continually develops new hardware and releases approximately one new board design a week. We use FPGAs in many of our hardware designs, and as a result, programming hardware in VHDL is second nature to our team.


  • PCB Design tools include Altium & OrCAD
  • VHDL for FPGA development
  • High speed, low noise analog data acquisition
  • Sensor integration
  • Processor subsystem design
  • High speed bus architectures including PCI, PCIe, USB, LVDS
  • Switching and linear power supply design

Software Development

Critical Link’s software development capabilities cover a wide range of operating systems, languages, development environments, and protocols. We use a best-in-class, object-oriented approach that helps ensure our software performs at the highest levels and accomplishes the tasks set forth.


As an electronics product development company, our software skills on embedded platforms are extensive. In some cases the embedded systems we develop also require a PC-based graphical user interface. To fill this need, Critical Link has many talented software engineers capable of delivering top quality PC-based applications that complement our embedded platforms.


Programming languages include C, C++,  C#, Assembler, Java, Ada, and a variety of scripting languages including Linux shell scripts, Perl scripts, Windows batch files.


  • Embedded Linux and BSPs
  • Real-time Operating Systems
  • DSP software / optimization programming
  • Device drivers – embedded and PC
  • Ethernet TCP/IP and serial based communications
  • Embedded software
  • Graphical User Interfaces

Prototyping & Manufacturing/Assembly

The systems development life cycle, more often than not, begins with developing a working prototype of your product. Critical Link is uniquely qualified to help with this phase – from interpreting your specifications to suggesting alternatives to optimize performance or achieve a more cost-effective design. We have designed thousands of prototypes for customers and are ready to help with yours.


Every embedded systems design project generally culminates in a transition to production. Critical Link’s experience taking our own designs to production has given us the expertise to make your transition into production as seamless and smooth as possible.


Whether Critical Link manages manufacturing or you execute builds at another facility, we help ensure that your product design can be reliably reproduced in quantities of tens, hundreds, or thousands of units.