Product Design Engineer (Embedded Systems) – Conservation X Labs

Conservation X Labs (CXL) is dedicated to addressing human-induced drivers of extinction through the development of breakthrough technologies. To build our work further, we are currently looking for an exceptional and enthusiastic team-player with a passion for conservation and technology to join our dynamic company and organization. The “X” in our name stands for both “Experimental” and “Exponential” – our mission is to harness exponential technologies, open innovation, and entrepreneurship to dramatically improve the efficacy, cost, speed, scale, and sustainability of conservation efforts to end human induced extinction. We are an optimistic, passionate, forward-looking, entrepreneurial, fun, and mission-oriented organization built to radically improve the way we find solutions for conservation’s biggest challenges.

We seek a passionate and enthusiastic professional embedded systems engineer who is interested in working as part of an engineering team in a fast-moving, mission-oriented startup organization. This position will be working in and help stand up our new Washington DC engineering lab. Central to Conservation X Labs’ efforts is the development of novel technologies that will dramatically improve the ability of conservationists around the world to protect species from extinction. We are seeking a dynamic individual that will be central in this effort and lead the work to build a suite of new technologies for conservation.


We seek applicants who want to disrupt conservation in order to radically improve it. We are looking for those who have dared mighty things by trying a path that others have not chosen. We are looking for those who have failed, but have learned from failure and risk, and whose faces are marred by dust, sweat, and blood. We are looking for those who like to experiment, to make things, to hack things, to test things, and to break things (particularly dogmatic approaches to conservation). Finally, we are looking for hardworking people who will enthusiastically devote  their intellectual and creative energy to advance our mission, enjoy working on a team, are deeply entrepreneurial and self-motivated, and are nice.

For this position, we are looking for a deeply creative engineer that is interested in “development engineering, and design thinking for extreme constraints, as applied to conservation, as well as someone that can work across a suite of impactful conservation technologies that ultimately will be commercialized or manufactured for deployment at a global scale.

This position is directly responsible for the embedded systems design of Conservation X Labs’ products from idea to commercial production. This is an opportunity to work with thought leaders in the area of terrestrial & marine conservation, change, and international development. Crucially, this position will be central to transforming great ideas into reality, with the mission of ending human-induced extinction. Because Conservation X Labs sources and develops new products using a variety of techniques that rely on both open innovation (crowd-based sourcing) and directed development, this position will be required to be highly adaptable and both identifying promising avenues and at integrating diverse technical elements into products that are ultimately useful and scalable. We do not anticipate that this will be easy, and we expect that it will be a challenge to oversee multiple development trajectories, but the position will also allow a brilliant engineer the opportunity to integrate embedded systems into a myriad of different products that have real world-impact. The ability to do this efficiently and with an eye to usability in the field for the people on the frontlines of conservation and development will mean overseeing and contributing to many different transformative products.

This position is primarily responsible for creating and elaborating upon products for conservation applications that will require the integration of both existing (off-the-shelf) and novel technologies. They will develop new tools that require sophisticated technologies that may include optical, molecular, mechanical, digital (e.g. machine learning or computer vision), and other approaches as well as the software needed to produce a usable product. Ideally, the candidate has diverse skillsets and experience beyond their core expertise in embedded systems. This position is based in Washington D.C. with regular travel to Seattle, Washington (including
potential future opportunities for relocation there). It also may involve occasional travel to field sites, speaking at conferences, and opportunities for testing and design. Travel will not exceed 25%. Salary is competitive and based on industry practice, experience, and salary history. Primary responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Design and build robust low-cost hardware solutions that are modular, adaptable, and designed for changing environments.
• Develop and maintain embedded systems software for multiple products
• Improve the inherent quality of existing or in-development hardware products
• Development of iOS and Android apps
• Manage the DFM (Design-for-Manufacture) and certification process for new CXL products
• Ideate new conservation technology products in collaboration with colleagues and partner organizations.
• Evaluate technical viability of potential new products/proposals
• Document all research, designs, experiments, and data with our internal documentation system
• Present results and progress in a clear and concise manner, both in writing and orally
• Influence and advise on the development of the Conservation Product Development Lab, including the types of products and teams who will use the lab
• Work alongside the rest of engineering team to manage, grow and maintain CXL’s Conservation Product Development Lab
• Help recruit additional partners to use the lab and manage the use of the lab to ensure the most effective development of conservation technology products.
• Develop and manage external partnerships with researchers, consultants, contract manufacturers, users, and others to ensure the best resources are brought to bear in solution development
• Work collaboratively, in a high-paced, but friendly environment consisting of biologists, engineers, social scientists, entrepreneurs, and partners working to end human-induced extinction

● Bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science, or higher, plus 2-3 years’ industry experience preferred. Advanced degrees appreciated and welcome.
● Understanding of diverse embedded software systems and sensor systems.
● Understanding of mechanical design, UI, user testing, including constraints and tradeoffs provided by extreme and/or variable environments, battery life and replenishment, maintainability and usability, frugal engineering, and connectivity.
● Experience with design for manufacturing and bringing a product to market a plus.
● Extensive experience in ECAD a plus
● An understanding of RF systems as well as other types of wireless communications at a range of power usage.
● Proficient in multiple programming languages such as Python, C, and/or C++, (a requirement).
● Experience with machine learning (particularly computer vision) applications plus.
● Ability to work creatively to solve multivariate, inter-dependent and inter-disciplinary problems

Conservation X Labs applies technology, entrepreneurship, and open innovation to source, develop, and scale critical solutions to the underlying drivers of human-induced extinction, whether in conservation or other fields. Conservation X Labs takes an approach to conservation that is technology- and innovation-focused, market- and scale-driven, and interdisciplinary. We believe this approach – one that addresses the direct drivers of extinction rather than its symptoms, and one that takes a revolutionary over evolutionary approach – is the future of conservation, what we call Conservation 3.0. We source, develop, and scale new solutions through open innovation, directed engineering and technology development, product acceleration, and building the diverse community of solvers that will transform the field. Conservation X Labs operates as both a 501c3 non-profit organization and a B-corporation.

Please send a cover letter and resume to with “Product Design Engineer – [Your Last Name]” in the Subject Line of the email. Relevant examples from
your portfolio of engineering projects and products are very welcome.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until 5 pm PST, February 15th, 2019.

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