How to design a 'modular' product that can be used in various applications

Hello,

I am a beginner level embedded system engineer in a small company.

My current product is to develop a controller (using ARM MCU) for our company's products (MEMS scanning mirror or micromirror).

The development will be done by outsourcing and I should give design specifications to the development company.

But I don't know what specifications are needed for the actuator controller development.

Main directions of making the controller for the actuator are, 1. Open-loop control of the actuator (MEMS scanning mirror), 2. 'Modular' design thereby being used for various applications.

First goal is straightforward so I can deal with it.

However, I don't know what should I need for the second goal.

What interface is needed for a 'modular' product to be integrated or synchronized with other system? Is it generating trigger signals?

Would you please tell me a standard and common design technique for the controller to communicate with other system? Is it using UART serial communication? Sync? Trigger?

Would you please tell me a standard and common design technique for the controller to communicate with other system?

I think you should first try to limit your variables. What are these other systems that you need to communicate with? Different systems use different set of signals and protocols to communicate. Unless you are able to come up with a list of specific systems that you need to interface to, I cant think of any way to design something that will fit in every single possible situation.

I've seen a few designs made for "future expansion" and when the future requirements come, the prediction was usually wrong and the design needs to be modified.

The Arduino could be considered "modular" since it's a complete ready-to-go microcontroller with a built-in bootloader, USB port, and several I/O pins where you can plug-in add-on boards. (I'm not saying the Arduino is appropriate for your requirements, but it's an example.)

Would you please tell me a standard and common design technique for the controller to communicate with other system? Is it using UART serial communication? Sync? Trigger?

It depends on the "other system". It could be RS-232, RS-422, USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or something more unusual such as GPIB.

Where I work we have a couple of boards that can be assembled with 2 different communication protocols and some other boards with multiple ports/protocols, but mostly we have a few separate products that are similar but use different protocols and different PC boards. All of these variations were known-needs at the time the board was designed.

Perhaps define or explain how the MEMS scanning mirror is driven e.g. H-bridge, Class AB. and things like how fast it can be moved (Slew rate). Then let the ARM expert suggest the best control options.

Thank you all for answering my question.

I understood that I should define how the actuator is driven and what specific devices would communicate.