June 7, 2009 -- How far can design automation software go towards providing a "turn-key" solution? Today, software based design tools are used extensively in electronics and for good reason; they can accelerate and automate repetitive tasks, and they provide a level of accuracy that helps remove human error. But they must also follow strict rules and therefore lack "imagination;: they can never really inject the creativity needed to produce exceptional designs.
It's a dilemma that now affects nearly every discipline within embedded engineering: automatic code generation is becoming commonplace; PCB's are generally routed algorithmically; thermal data from circuit simulations can be fed into CAD tools to define cooling solutions and enclosures. Of course, engineers will always play an important role in the design process but it does seem that role may be changing. Commercial pressures today demand that the design process be as efficient as possible, which means today's engineers must know as much about driving design tools as they do about first principles.
By Phil Ling.
This brief introduction has been excerpted from the original copyrighted article.