Design007 Magazine


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 41 of 67

42 The PCB Design Magazine • February 2017 stead of mousing around? I'm not so sure. But if eye-controlled movements were implemented, then there would have to be other enhance- ments as well to complement it. Voice recognized commands would be a very helpful enhancement to have. In that first "Iron Man" movie, Tony Stark gave com- mands with his voice, and his design system could understand and respond to that input. Imagine if you were designing your board and the routing followed your eye movements, and you could tell the system through voice com- mands when to drill a via, what size via to use, and what layer to end up on. Or if that is too much, imagine if you could at least use your voice to input strings of text for a drawing or a schematic. Since our smartphones can already do this, why shouldn't our layout tools be able to do it as well? Of course, you would probably always want the ability to input information directly with your hands somehow, and in that movie you see a virtual keyboard in use quite often. Since the need for direct system-level communication with our CAD tools will likely never go away, a keyboard seems like a logical way to do this. But what if we had a virtual keyboard instead of the mechanical keyboard that most of us are accustomed to now? That could be very helpful; the keyboard could change its input buttons de- pending on the needs of the design (language, symbols, tool commands), and change the con- tour of the physical keyboard to provide the best ergonomic interface for the user. Beyond that, just imagine if you could in- teract with your design as a hologram floating in front of you the way Tony Stark did in the movie. Wouldn't it be amazing if you could pick a section on your holographic design with your hands and expand it to the point where you could peer into it, spin it around, and ma- nipulate it as you desired? Want to push a trace down to a different layer? Just give it a nudge in the right direction and the holographic display changes it to the next layer. Don't like the way a certain area fill looks? Then just grab it with your fingers and pull it out and throw it into the virtual garbage can. Want to split off a portion of circuitry to put into a reuse block for use in another design? Then grab it and pull it over to the side and tell your system to save that por- tion under a new file name. The system interacted with Tony Stark through a voice interface named Jarvis. This in- teraction was often laden with Jarvis' sarcasm and, to tell the truth, I'm not too sure that I would want my CAD system questioning what I do and coming up with suggestions that I don't really want. But then again, maybe my pride needs an adjustment here because there could be some real advantages to this. Imagine the possibilities if we could verbally interact with our DRCs, and after informing us of a net clear- ance problem our design system could suggest a range of solutions based on our design specifi- DESIGN TOOLS OF TOMORROW: A REAL "MARVEL" Figure 1: Could the PCB designer of the future use a holographic CAD tool similar to the one used by Tony Stark in the first "Iron Man" movie?

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Design007 Magazine - PCBD-Feb2017