Neptune is a small lab dealing with software, hardware, and a bit of theory as well.

Started as an engineering playground to feed own curiosity and sprinkle all sorts of ideas, it has grown to the point where it pursues some pretty serious stuff involving automation, mathematics, mechanical systems, data analysis, industrial processes, etc ― to sum up: tech R&D. Check out the Projects section to find out more about what Neptune did, what it does, what it is going to do, and why.

It is just as important to say what Neptune isn't. It is not a corporate structure, neither is it suitable for working under rigid corporate principles. Don't expect us to "show commitment for excellence in terms of enhancing cutting-edge paradigm-shifting products going forward" ― we just do engineering, you know.

So, how do we do it?

Well, Neptune's skills are best represented by our weapons of choice. Of course, every project requires a different set of tools, but regardless, there are some we like to use the most.

PYTHON. The Prophet's Language! Agreed, one may argue there are dark ways to make things work somewhat faster at the end of the day, but that single argument is outweighed by the power, multi-platform approach, tons of excellent libraries and stability that Python offers. And the fact one still understands own (and others') code a year later. Even the mobile platforms are beginning to embrace the universal über-language, and it is steadily paving its way to automation and electronic platforms.

NEAR. (NXT/EV3/Arduino/Raspberry Pi.) Dealing with electrical devices? Mechanics, linkages, robotics? These new platforms and packages, despite sometimes wrongly discredited for being "hobbyist" stuff, are actually incredibly versatile, easy to work with and can easily handle complex tasks. Mechanical prototyping is a breeze, and actually, if something works well based on NEAR (and usually it does), it can only work better once constructed for real.

CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY. Yes, if your intention is to build a 3D scanner, a laboratory laser, industrial stepper motors and professional 4K cameras are welcome. However, why annihilating our (or our client's) wallet if a resolution of half a millimeter is enough? If used cleverly, a $500 home projector, a $5 laser pointer, a regular $400 camera, some NEAR and a $250 tablet it's all controlled from will do the job just as nicely. It's staggering how much one can do with today's consumer devices if just a grain of common sense and ingenuity is applied.

OPEN SOURCE STUFF. Nine out of ten projects today can be easily done using open source software only. Applications such as Inkscape, PostgreSQL, Blender, GIMP or Audacity to name just a few, are of high quality, flexible and stable. If the project demands, sometimes Neptune has to enter the realm of commercial software, but left to own choices, open source is the way to go.

3D VISUALISATION. Whereas the 3D technology has so far had only a moderate success inhibiting our living rooms, it has turned out to be pretty helpful in the lab. Complex visualisations of mechanical systems and processes can take benefit of powerful, relatively cheap and easily available 3D hardware. Polarized 3D screens, stereographs, 3D screens, and even the good old anaglyphs ― we've dealt with all of them at one time or another.

• Neptune Lab, 2014. All rights reserved.