How Brands are Redefining the PCB Design Process with AR

George MartinGeorge Martin wrote 08/07/2019 at 21:51 • 4 min read • Like

Augmented Reality has been in the market for many years, predominantly used for entertainment and marketing of products. Augmented Reality is leaving its impacts simultaneously on various industries, growing at a CAGR of 33.7% and is expected to gain a market size of 85.0 billion by 2025.

 PCB design software market is expected to have a market cap of over $970 Million by 2024 and augmented reality coupled with technologies like artificial intelligence, auto-detection, machine learning, etc, with it's growing pace and countless areas of application is all set to take over PCB Design and Manufacturing industry as the key industry players go forward with their strategic implementation of this technology.

Augmented Reality In PCB Design and Manufacturing

Augmented Reality is a technology making its way into several areas of PCB design and manufacturing process. However, being such a new technology, most of the concepts are either in the experimental stage or being tested for commercial use.

When the commercial market of mobile phones started to develop, after Motorola first developed the phone in 1973, nobody even in their wildest dream would have imagined what a mobile would be able to do in 2019.

Similarly, with AR in PCB design and manufacturing, it is difficult to say what the future holds.

There are several areas where AR could be used in the future when it comes to PCB design. "Procedure" is one of them; If given the ability to switch between the finished product, the virtual design and the real-life work in progress, the designer will have a clearer understanding of what needs to be done next.

The PCB design and manufacturing is detailed work, including a long list of detailed instructions. The designer must follow these instructions while designing the circuit board. If AR can bring that list of instructions in his/her vision, that will help to make the design process faster.

Introducing artificial intelligence in AR for PCB Design is another proposed implementation that results in a more enabled platform for the users. AI with its capability to learn and enhance itself from the experiences it gathers over a period of time and while under the stage of development would recognize the design, the components, the flow and would start suggesting alternatives.

Not only that, like we have auto-correct tools like grammarly, AI and AR combined together can reduce the number of errors which simply means faster design implementation. 

In addition to helping with the design and manufacturing of PCBs, augmented reality can be used to assist in the maintenance of the manufactured circuit boards and fault detection. As technology develops itself, the complexity of the circuit boards will increase and with that, maintenance and fault detection will become difficult.

Using augmented reality, it will be much easier to detect the faults as AR will guide the users through the complex circuits and can also bring guidelines into their vision thereby making it much easier to provide easy maintenance and fault detection.

Not only that, PCBs being a complex piece of technology, having an augmented reality-driven market will improve the face of the industry and would promote easy integration of various functions.

Training users on latest technology will become easier and more personalized which would help in increasing the skill of people working at the lowest level in the industry; people who are the face of this industry, interacting with consumers every day in uncountable scenarios.

Hurdles in Implementation of AR In PCB Design and Manufacturing

Augmented reality is a promising prospect for PCB design and manufacturing industry yet its implementation and industry-specific growth is hindered by a number of factors that have been a roadblock in its progress towards large scale implementation. 

One issue is slow software development specific to AR in PCB design. Software design companies are only focusing on areas where there is high value or high return on their investments. The other half of this same problem lies at the end of businesses who have been reluctant to invest in the hardware of software necessary for such technology implementation.

Another issue is the lack of expertise. Missing resources are seen as a principal restraining force for all the Augmented Reality industry. This lack of expertise is not only observed on creators side but also at the user's end. Lack of knowledge about how to use AR driven technology is a problem but it isn't as big.

As we see this gap has begun to be filled and major credit goes to various startups and future-oriented companies, we can expect augmented reality to become a pivotal part of PCB design and manufacturing process.

Consumers and businesses are becoming more aware of the advancements and potential application of Augmented Reality in various industries.