The SILICON BOX Program: NOVUS’ sandbox

The Silicon Box is a group created by NOVUS to research and explore new developments related to technology. Unlike the R&D team, whose primary function is to develop products, the Silicon Box team develops knowledge.

This knowledge is used to decide whether to use one technology over another in a new product, to choose a manufacturer’s solution over a competitor’s alternative, or to correctly estimate the time and cost during the planning stage for using a new technology in a product development project.

As an example of a subject to be explored, imagine that NOVUS is interested in knowing in more detail how a hypothetical new wireless interface standard works. Well, all colleagues who work with the development of electronic products know that, when reading about a subject, everything seems easy and exciting.



However, the complexity and problems only appear when we start working. It is at this stage of development that we easily encounter challenges that get in the way of even the most flexible project planning.

What is a sandbox and how it works in our program

By anticipating further studies and testing different development paths, it is possible to decrease the risk involved in using a new technology in a new product.

Periodically, a committee at NOVUS chooses the subjects of interest for the next Silicon Box cycle. These topics are distributed among the group members to be explored over a period of a few months.

Each team in our sandbox program is responsible for a topic and has a supervisor, typically someone with good technical experience who will help them overcome day-to-day challenges.

The team also has a mentor, someone responsible for bringing insights regarding possible applications and related market information to keep the activities focused within the area of interest of the company.

The members of the team, formed by students of Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, or related areas, pursue the goals of the project related to the subject to be explored. They study norms, evaluate what exists in the market, contact suppliers, test development kits, create proofs of concept, and build prototypes.

The participants of the Silicon Box Project do what they consider necessary to pursue this learning process for NOVUS.

At the end of the period, they present to the company what they have done, what worked well and what didn’t, what was easy and what was difficult.

The Startup spirit

This startup spirit at Silicon Box, which is independent from all the other bureaucratic processes of the company, allows it to achieve very interesting results with each new cycle. The members stay highly motivated and in an environment of constant innovation, facing the new challenges that are presented to them.

In recent years, Silicon Box has been expanding its activities to include open innovation initiatives outside of the internal initiative. In 2021, we held a Hackathon to select a startup that could help us improve a process in our factory involving computer vision.

In addition, two other startups became partners and are being supported by NOVUS. Both have interesting product proposals that complement the past and future developments of the company and Silicon Box is now NOVUS Corporate Innovation Program.

Article written by Sandro Rafael dos Santos, NOVUS Director of Research & Development.


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