Strategic Programs

Sure, Quantum Signal does a lot of mobile robots, and simulates mobile robots – but we’re a lot more than that. The company was founded with the idea that the world was (and still is) full of challenges requiring a creative technical solution, and that by applying a team of smart, innovative engineers the possibilities are limitless. Over the years QS has built and demonstrated solutions in fields as wide ranging as automotive, defense, consumer products, manufacturing, and entertainment. While the application areas are surprisingly diverse, common threads run amongst all QS solutions: a dedicated, collaborative team that listens to and understands the problem to be solved; intelligent, state-of-the-art algorithms that extract useful information from noisy data; well-thought out, intuitive user interfaces that require little or no training; robust, “artisanal” software and hardware implementations that meet exacting standards; and delivery of a well-tested, quality product that exceeds all requirements and fulfills the vision set out at the beginning of the project. We get involved in projects and programs where we know we can work with our clients to create, build, and deliver a high value add solution that meets their needs and makes their pain go away. We don’t make lattes and we don’t convince our clients to hire us when we aren’t the right folks for the job – we work on programs where and when we know we can make a difference.

Broadly speaking, our Strategic Programs group currently breaks down into three major areas; Process Automation, Intelligent Systems, and Defense and Law Enforcement Technologies.

CASE STUDY :

Amway FACES System
Matching People with Skin Care Products, and Supporting new Product Development

CASE STUDY :

OSRAM PASS
Connecting End Users with OSRAM’s Worldwide Support Infrastructure

CASE STUDY :

Hunter Systems’ SmartShot
Helping Cops Take Better Photos, and Building Our Clients’ Future

CASE STUDY :

Thermal Ribbon Analysis Platform (TRAP)
Helping Put Counterfeiters Away – One Ribbon at a Time!

Process Automation

The modern world is completely, utterly, and amazingly full of processes. There’s a process to build and test automotive headlamps. There’s a process to look for fraudulent trades in fast-changing commodities markets. There’s a process used to deliver chicken nuggets at your local fast-food facility. And thousands and thousands more processes go on everyday, around us, in every field of endeavor. In many cases, these processes have evolved out of some combination of what was necessary and what was possible, yielding a workable if non-optimal solution.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the age of ubiquitous computing, universal communications, flexible software, and intelligent algorithms have changed, or is changing, everything, top to bottom, in every dimension possible. This advancement has enabled previously unimaginable opportunities for process automation, transferring dull, dirty, or dangerous tasking to machines while freeing up humans to perform more critical, higher-level tasks and decision making. Better yield, higher quality, higher functionality, and reduced costs are only some of the benefits that can be realized with process automation.

What does QS have to offer? Plenty. Our team of flexible, dynamic, highly skilled and experienced engineers and developers has spent roughly the last two decades working with customers to understand their industry and processes and finding solutions to some very tough problems. We carry expertise in core engineering fields (sensing and perception, control, signal/image processing and algorithms, software and hardware development, modeling and simulation, interface design). Further, we take an interdisciplinary, systems-engineering based approach and leverages the wide experience accumulated executing programs across many fields. These advantages helped QS automate a painfully slow, manual scanning process in the forensic laboratories of the US Secret Service. It also helped us build a worldwide workflow management tool for one of the leading electronics manufacturers in the world.

Deep expertise, hard work, and cross pollination are the keys to QS’ process automation success, and we’re ready to put our team to work for you. Is your company looking for a new solution to an old problem? A technology-leveraging improvement or complete re-engineering of a key process? Let us know – we’re here to make it happen!

Intelligent Systems

The technology changes over the past forty years haven’t just enabled changes or improvement in process; they’ve provided the building blocks and basis for complex, intelligent systems. The ability to sense key system parameters, process them in real-time using advanced algorithms, extract useful information, and then apply that information to yield new and innovative functionalities is causing a shock-wave paradigm shift in products we use and how we interact with the world around us. Anyone who’s used a new device or visited a website and exclaimed, “How did it know that?” (and most have) have felt the shift – intelligent systems are here, and we’re living in a whole new world of products, services, and interconnected systems that aim to make our lives easier, better, and more fulfilled.

QS has been at the forefront of this accelerating revolution since its founding almost twenty years ago. We develop and implement the underlying algorithms and software that constitute the “special sauce” and make the system intelligent. We don’t cling to one technology or approach; we study the challenge, identify and/or create a sensing and algorithmic solution, implement it as (generally real-time) software, and integrate it as part of a real-world system and solution. The algorithms filter noise, extract data, divide it into groupings, and make decisions based on it. The development process sometimes involves distilling human knowledge and experience, and incorporating that into the algorithms – something QS has deep experience in. As an example, QS worked with Amway Corporation to distill the expertise of skin scientists and clinicians, and incorporating that expertise into FACES – a system that captures human face images, analyzes them, and recommends appropriate skin care product. In another face-related example, QS also took a manual process (booking photos) with too much variation, and built a semi-automated system incorporating algorithms that ensure each photo taken complies with government standards. Building intelligent systems isn’t something we dabble in – it’s what we do, and where our expertise shines.

If your team is looking to build something special, something extraordinary - a system that incorporates “smarts” and leverages the technologies of today and those coming, QS is here and ready to assist!

Defense and Law Enforcement Technologies

When you think of defense contractors, you might think Stark Industries - birthplace of Iron Man and J.A.R.V.I.S. AI technologies. Or you might think something a little less flashy – stodgy, huge corporations with stockholders, building giant weapon systems. QS is a proud defense contractor, but doesn’t really fall into either of these categories. Since 2001, our team has had the honor and privilege of applying our knowhow and technology to solve problems and make lives better for our warfighters. We’re small, but we’re powerful, and our team leverages their skills and creativity to come up with unique, state-of-the-art solutions to military challenges. Performance anywhere/anytime, enemy fire, cyber-penetration, harsh weather, mission tempo – these are the dimensionalities that make the development of defense solutions very challenging. And like our military users and customers, we never turn away from a challenge.

What makes QS different? In a nutshell, we listen. Each and every project begins with our team sitting down with our military users and associated stakeholders and working to understand the real needs, and build a set of requirements (formally or informally) that are used to guide the solution. We are laser-focused and hell-bent on building USEFUL solutions that users WANT to use, not just executing yet another contract or building something that sits on the shelf. Our customers bring their challenges and wish list to the table; we bring the team and technology to transforms science fiction into science fact! We’re an experienced federal contractor, and are happy to lead and execute programs or work as part of a larger team to tackle bigger problems.

And our work in these sorts of technologies and applications doesn’t stop at defense – we also provide awesome solutions for those involved in law enforcement and intelligence. QS’ algorithms, software, and hardware are helping to identify, prosecute, and manage criminals inside and outside the US. We’ve worked extensively in forensics, supporting the most well-respected federal labs with new technology and breakthrough science. Our team understands how valuable recovered evidence can be and how to treat it, and can (and has) worked side-by-side with forensic examiners to develop solutions and make pain go away in the lab.

If you’ve got a defense, law enforcement, or intelligence-related need or an idea you’d like to explore with a creative technology team that gets things done, let us know. You’ll be glad you did. Oh, and given our unique HQ, passion for technology, and general snarkyness, don’t think our leadership hasn’t considered pursuing portable arc reactors and putting an LED “Stark” sign on our building, somewhere...

Tony Stark, Iron Man, and Stark Industries are properties of Marvel Worldwide Inc., and as enthusiastic comic fans we’d never want to infringe on this sort of coolness and/or deprive the artists in any way. Peace!

WE WORK THE FUTURE, BUT PLAY OLD-SCHOOL

Our game lounge and hallways are stocked with plenty of unique, fun arcade goodness from the 1930s through the 1990s. They don’t always work, but when they do it’s absolutely Back to the Future. Getting’ it on like Donkey Kong...

A HIDDEN GEM, A SECRET FACT

Salt Springs Brewery in Saline is a favorite amongst our staff, and located in an antique church. Few know that QS actually considered purchasing the building long before it was renovated into the awesome brewpub it is today. We are very happy things turned out the way they did – they make the beer at the Church of Hops, we do the engineering at the School of Code!

MAIZE AND BLUE

QS is a 1999 spin-off of the University of Michigan College of Engineering. Don’t worry, though – there’s no rivalry at Quantum. MSU fans and graduates are welcome, and we mostly try not to put their desks in the basement torture chamber. Mostly.

WE ARE ALWAYS UP FOR A CHALLENGE

QS fielded two outstanding teams at the most recent Saline Celtic Festival Mastodon Challenge! Is there’s any question as to whether we’re hard-core or not, consider this: Bill Meabrod, one of our esteemed coders, did it barefoot using his self-described “Hobbit Feet” on the entire mission.

GETTING IN THE SPIRIT

Each year QS hosts a Halloween costume contest, and few can resist to throw in their hat. At a recent one, CEO Mitch Rohde rocked his Tron costume – showing both his dorkiness and vintage all in one disturbing swoop! End of line.

CTRL + ALT + DELETE

Working out the kinks in vehicle teleoperation can be fun; from a safe distance of course!

BUMP. SET. SPIKE!

Weekly volleyball matches get pretty intense at Quantum Signal. The gym is regulation, the players not-so-much. It’s like the volleyball scene from Top Gun, minus the sand and plus the C++ experience level...

SAVING LIVES. SAVING FRIES.

QS doesn’t just keep soldiers safe – we’re also single-handedly responsible for the return of waffle fries at Dan's Downtown Tavern, one of our favorite lunch spots. Now, about those curly fries...

WE CELEBRATE THE VICTORIES

Sometimes it's a trip to Cedar Point, other times a t-shirt and BBQ lunch, and still other times an engineering-grade sheetcake. Don't worry, we make management eat the non-chocolate parts.

IT'S TIME FOR A DOUBLE BILL...

QS' co-founder, Dr. William J. Williams, is named after a famous figure in Scottish history. He is also a distant cousin of Bob Evans, of restaurant fame!

GOAT, MOOSE, SHEEP – INDIVIDUALS OR FLOCKS – WHATEVER YOU NEED...

QS has built a variety of virtual animals for M&S environments, including a friendly goat with an accurate gate and simulated hoof forces. Yes, we were contracted to do it. Yes, we will tell you the story if you buy us a beer...

A MASTER OF HIS CRAFT...

"What are you milling Kevin?" - "A girlfriend. She'll be perfect."

AND WE SMILE A LOT MORE, TOO!

Back in 1931, this facility housed the finest Saline athletes. Today, it houses the finest Saline MATHLETES!

SEEING OBSTACLES, AND EATING THEM

James Walker, our in-house Robot Whisperer, once emerged victorious from a Wendy’s "Meat Cube" challenge. Hard-core coding, hard core burger consumption – that’s the QS way.

OUR QA THINKS, AND THUS IS...

Dan Rice, QS Quality Assurance Maestro and all around cool dude, majored in philosophy and once wrote a paper on Aristotle's Philosophy of Mind! His tickets are more Socrates than Nietzsche, though.

QS: WHERE ROBOTS ARE LIKE FAMILY

We figure being nice to the 'bots now will help ingratiate us with our future robot overlords.

ALWAYS READY TO RUMBLE

In 2014/2015 QS built and released a little game called "Rustbucket Rumble" – a casual multi-robot mash-em-up craze-fest. It had a fanbase, but didn’t make it big enough to warrant a sequel. Still, we miss those little critters...

SOMETIMES, YOU GET TAGGED

We'll assume this was a comment on the political situation and not our codebase….