Trailhead's Sidekick

Trailhead's Sidekick is an AI/ML-powered design and sourcing engine tailored for optical engineers. The platform allows users to compare schematics on multiple performance metrics, assess trade-offs, and adjust constraints to explore alternative scenarios - all within a user interface that's intuitive and exaustive in functionality. We built a user-friendly web app that interfaces seamlessly with the sourcing engine, enabling users of all skill levels to efficiently discover optimal solutions for various scenarios.

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Trailhead came to us with a vision. The CEO, Jeff Wisdom, has over 20 years of experience in optics, and especially lasers. He saw a need in the industry for a product to provide a seamless way for users to select and order an optical laser for their specific needs. His ides, which came to fruition as Sidekick, is an all-in-one automated optics design platform. The goal of Sidekick was to automate routine tasks and derisk new products, which would allow for easy innovation in the optics world.
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Optical engineering, a field requiring high precision and innovation, faces several key challenges. Traditional design methods are often time-consuming and complex, making it difficult for engineers, especially those with varying skill levels, to quickly and efficiently discover optimal solutions. This complexity slows down innovation and increases costs. Additionally, exploring a vast range of design possibilities and performing in-depth manufacturability analysis can be daunting, particularly when considering the trade-offs and constraints involved. These challenges hinder the ability to rapidly develop and analyze multiple design scenarios, ultimately impacting the efficiency and effectiveness of optical engineering projects.
Sidekick revolutionizes optical engineering by introducing an AI-driven design and sourcing engine. It addresses the aforementioned challenges by enabling users of all skill levels to input design parameters and receive optimized design schematics quickly. This AI engine not only simplifies the design process but also accelerates it, making it suitable for both rapid prototyping and manufacturing. Sidekick's capability to compare different design schematics on various performance metrics allows users to explore trade-offs and adjust constraints easily, facilitating a more comprehensive analysis of potential solutions. Additionally, the platform's high-fidelity physics code, executed on a parallelized cloud system, ensures solutions are generated in the shortest time possible. This approach not only democratizes access to advanced optical engineering tools but also significantly reduces the time and cost associated with traditional design methods, making it a groundbreaking solution in the field.
Project management
At CKC, we recognize that every client has distinct needs, making a one-size-fits-all approach to project management inadequate. We understand that variations in project goals, team dynamics, and technological requirements demand tailored solutions. That's why, at the onset of each project, we prioritize a comprehensive consultation with you. This initial meeting is crucial for us to fully grasp your specific needs and expectations.

For Sidekick, we landed on an agile approach, with bi-weekly sprints and daily standups. Using Github Projects Kanban boards, we pointed, alloted, and assigned tasks. We also utilized Github Issues to track bugs and feature requests. As the client requested better visualization of velocity and progress, we created a custom tool that, at the end of each sprint, would take all of our completed items, and generate an excel sheet with metrics and weekly velocity data. This allowed the client to better track our progress.
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For this project, we chose Vue.js for its user-friendly interface capabilities, ensuring an accessible and engaging experience for users of all skill levels. In tandem, we utilized Django's robust backend framework to adeptly manage the complex data processes inherent in optical engineering. To power the real-time machine learning tasks, we integrated Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provided the necessary scalability and efficiency for handling large data volumes and delivering machine learning insights swiftly. This strategic combination of technologies was key in our in-house bootstrapped approach, allowing us to deploy Sidekick rapidly and effectively, further cementing our reputation as a forward-thinking developer agency dedicated to pioneering solutions in the tech space.
Vue.js is our preferred choice for frontend development, prized for its flexibility and ease of integration. It's a progressive JavaScript framework that facilitates building interactive user interfaces and single-page applications with an intuitive and declarative coding style. At CKC, we've established an in-house,bootstrapped projectthat enables us to rapidly incorporate Vue.js into a diverse range of projects.
In this case, the client brought UI designs. This allowed us to analyze the designs and determine the best framework to use. While any common frontend framework would have done the job, Vue had the most potential to maximize our team's efficiency during the build process. This decision aligned perfectly with the client's priorities for efficiency and effectiveness. Ultimately, our choice of Vue.js enabled us to deliver precisely what the client sought – a swift, seamless, and successful deployment of their vision.
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