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8 The PCB Design Magazine • June 2016 I sometimes wonder what people were thinking during great moments in history. For instance, did you ever wonder what was going through the minds of the technologists who created the earliest PCBs? I imagine that when the first PCBs were de- veloped, rather than just being satisfied that they'd created this great new piece of intercon- nect, the lead engineers were already thinking, "What if we could put more components on this thing? What if we shrank the traces? Could we use the ENIAC computer to design PCBs? That would be swell!" Then it was on: The Tight Tolerances Arms Race. Available board real estate has been shrinking ever since those golden days of PCBs. Maybe it's just human nature; we tend to want more of everything, and there was plenty of empty space on those early boards. Now, spaces, traces, pitch, vias—everything about the PCB is tiny. And for decades, most of you enjoyed the logistical challenge: How much more can you pack onto a circuit board? How small can you go before you reach a practi- cal manufacturing limit? Apparently, some of you have reached your own limit, so to speak. In our surveys, almost 20% of PCB designer respondents say that deal- ing with finer features and the accompanying lack of real estate, all while facing tighter dead- by Andy Shaughnessy I-CONNECT007 Let's Get Small THE SHAUGHNESSY REPORT

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