The Future of PCB Design and Implementation

In a previous blog article, we talked about some of the most important events in the history of the printed circuit board. We discussed various historical happenings like the invention of printed wires and the patenting of the auto-assembly process.
We shouldn’t always keep an eye on the past, however. Looking to the future has its benefits and allows us to see what kind of progress we can make. In this article, we’ll discuss the future of PCB design and all of the future uses these technological parts may have some day.
Although you may know where PCBs have come from, you’ll want to read on to see where these parts are headed and just how they’ll benefit you in the future.
PCB Uses to Fit Changing Consumer Demands
You already know that technology is an ever-growing industry. Apple comes out with new products multiple times a year, and other companies like Google, LG, and Samsung work diligently to match Apple’s pace.
These technological developments come as consumer demands and needs change. In the future, you may see PCBs in many of the following types of technology and electronics.
Board Cameras
Board cameras, more commonly called PCB cameras, are about the size of a quarter. These cameras are most often found in cell phones, tablets, and other, small, handheld electronics. Board cameras are made of a lens, aperture, and image sensor that attach directly to a PCB and take high-quality digital images and videos.
Most recently, however, there have been several developments in camera and video technology. Some cameras have been made sized down so that hospital patients can receive less invasive medical care. The cameras can be swallowed and can take comprehensive videos and images so that patients can receive better, more accurate medical care without the discomfort of traditionally invasive procedures.
Active System Components
PCBs are currently used as connecting components in electronics, but they may become the active system of electronic devices in the near future. PCBs now work as carriers to relay messages between electronic components so that the entire device can function according to its design.
Electrical engineers believe, however, that someday soon PCBs themselves will become the main, active system in any electronic. In theory, instead of needing these pieces to relay messages between each other, a PCB can transfer those messages within itself to make the electronic device work properly.
3D Printing
You’ve likely heard of 3D printing as a process that uses paper to create 3D, tactile objects. There have been incredible stories in the news about 3D-printed images that doctors can use to more closely examine a patient’s internal systems. Firearms and ammo have also been created from 3D printers.
Perhaps the most intriguing development in the worlds of 3D printing and PCBs has to be 3D-printed electronics. According to Dr. Martin Hedges, 3D printers will take on a whole new functionality. Instead of printing plain items, new 3D PE (or 3D printed electronics) printers take the printing process up a step.
The 3D PEs print items layer by layer to create a concrete object. Then, the item is printed with a liquid ink that contains electronic functionalities. The 3D PE then combines advanced printing technologies, fiveaxis systems, and software controls to make this complex printing process possible.
The electronics that are created from this process can then be used in various materials like resistors, semiconductors, conductors, and dielectrics.
Design Changes to Match New Technological Needs
Just like the use for PCBs changes to meet growing and expanding consumer needs, the design of PCBs must also change to better match these new technologies.
Most PCBs have an autorouter in them. This component routes electronic functions throughout a board. As a result, the automation processes in an electronic become significantly easier. However, the process of creating and setting up autorouters is so complex that the time saved in the automation process is lost in the time engineers take to set up the component.
Autoplacers, on the other hand, can make the automation process much faster and still just as easy. Instead of modelling the parameters and characteristics of the PCB design like autorouters do, autoplacers attempt to fully integrate mechanical and electrical CAD systems, making the automation process simple without being as time consuming.
High-Speed Capabilities
We live in a fast-paced world, and we want things to move faster and faster with each passing second. To allow technology to keep up with this change, PCBs will become equipped with high-speed capabilities that ensure the component and the electronic it powers work fast enough to meet consumers’ needs.
Where Will the Future of PCBs Take You?
The technological and electronic advancements that you’ll see in the future will be both astounding and miraculous. As you invest in new technology that uses PCBs, keep the information listed in this blog in mind. When you purchase a new item, think of how incredible the PCB is that makes it function. Think of the future these circuit boards have and how they can develop in the coming years-how they can make your life easier and simpler.
For more information about PCBs, or to discover new ways to use these technological pieces, get in touch with Streamline Circuits. You can also read through our other blog posts to learn more about these parts and just how much they influence our world.