Standardize and democratize electronics
Personally, I got stuck at the stage of manual wiring of multipurpose cards like Adruino or RapsberryPi. I burned dozens of them, because of a hazardous connection or a fatal short-circuit. All my prototypes are fragile, wrapped in tape and hot glue. We are still a long way from the finished product, both in terms of content and form. In the end, a lot of time and money wasted on «rapid prototyping».
But designing printed circuits is really difficult, even if you are a bit of a connoisseur. And I’m ashamed to admit that as a microtechnology engineer, after 7 years of study at EPFL and HEIG-VD, and two years of experience in the field, I still haven’t produced a functional PCB without EBE.
How to automate the engineer’s thinking in an algorithm? Is it even possible? To what extent?
It was to answer these questions that the EBE project was born, 5 years ago. Since then, the project has matured and has made it possible to produce complex and functional prototypes immediately in a very short time. It is now time to distribute EBE to the general public, to inject it with the collective intelligence it still lacks.
A new way to consider electronics
Over the years, we have developed a rather particular «schematic block» vision that allows EBE to understand electronics. We consider components as «systems», boxes, within boxes, exchanging different resources between them.
EBE checks in real time that each box receives the resources it needs, and attaches a small round icon to it, answering the only question that interests all its users: Does it work or not? If green, yes, if not, not yet. In case of a problem, a default solution is proposed.
EBE is also able to find in its shared database, the best systems, able to provide the requested resources. It will propose a boxed list of component groups, the first of which will always be the one most suited to the current need of the circuit and to your profile, by doing the simplest. It is with this vision that EBE can fully design unique and optimised electronic circuits from a simple specification (i.e. a list of resources)
Everything you need, just what you need
Another important principle of outreach is to keep the user in a simple world that they can understand, throughout the design process, and allow them easy access to the finer technical details if they are interested. In general, the electronic development process takes place in four stages: specification, design («schematic»), layout and manufacturing. EBE is present at all four stages, maintaining the same level of abstraction throughout.
-> The user describes the specifications and EBE designs the circuit, this is the «model» or «schematic» phase
-> The user is invited to place the components on the board as they wish, to draw the contours, add mounting holes, text, etc. This is the customisation phase, the «Layout».
-> The circuit can be ordered in one click and manufactured by our partner PCBWay to be delivered to you fully assembled, or in kit form
Component management is still a subject we are working on, the current supply crisis still emits a lot of instability and is expected to get worse. To take this new factor into account, EBE will soon be able to check the stock status of resellers on a daily basis. Thus, only use components that can be delivered immediately and without price explosion, and offer modification possibilities on existing projects.
The entire process can be carried out in a few hours, always in a guided manner, and only requires the user to describe what his imagination dictates. It is far from finished, but one day everyone will be able to use EBE.
Your place in this project
EBE needs to face the real world in order to move to the next level. We need it too. This campaign is the first opening of the software to the world. We are honored to present our baby to you, for you to use it, to know what you think of it, what to work on first.
Moreover, EBE is only a calculator. The soul of this project is its users. All the data, all the shared boxes, will one day have been designed by another user and reviewed by dozens of others. When a box gains popularity, its creator receives discounts on the manufacturing of its projects. Thus, the community generates and validates its own content naturally over the generations.
Thanks for reading, there are demos on our Youtube channel to go further. And to discuss with us, join our public server discord, we will start discussions soon. In any case, write to firstname.lastname@example.org