Publication

BoardLab: PCB as an Interface to EDA Software

Pragun Goyal, Harshit Agrawal, Joseph A. Paradiso, Pattie Maes

Abstract

The tools used to work with Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), for example soldering iron, multi-meter and oscilloscope involve working directly with the board and the board components. However, the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software used to query a PCB’s design data requires using a keyboard and a mouse. These different interfaces make it difficult to connect both kinds of operations in a workflow. Further, the measurements made by tools like a multi-meter have to be understood in the context of the schematics of the board manually. We propose a solution to reduce the cognitive load of this disconnect by introducing a handheld probe that allows for direct interactions with the PCB for just-in-time information on board schematics, component datasheets and source code. The probe also doubles up as a voltmeter and annotates the schematics of the board with voltage measurements.

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