In the early days of electronics, circuits looked organic and hand-drawn - because, of course, they were. Designers would lay down tracks by literally placing tape, by hand, as a photoresist ahead of the etching process. The result was attractive yet functional circuit designs with nary a sharp edge to be seen. These days, of course, we have computers to do these things for us. The result: angular, sharp designs dominated by 90 degree angles and parallel lines. Not everyone is happy with this status quo, though. This week, the EE Times has published a ten-strong slideshow showcasing some of the most artistic modern designs. Naturally, it includes a board design from Boldport: a company so dedicated to circuits-as-art and vice-versa that it developed an open-source tool, PCBmodE, specifically for designing them and recently began pioneering work in multi-coloured PCBs. Boldport is in good company, too, with the gallery showcasing everything from graffiti-inspired synthesiser circuits through to a board with a surprisingly detailed rendering of Abraham Lincoln in the copper layer. If you have any interest in design, circuitry, or art, it's definitely worth a look - and if it inspires you to experiment yourself, let us know how it goes!
To the creators of these pieces — we applaud your effort. You could have chosen a different route. You could have kept your creation all traditional, dry and rectilinear. Instead, form was allowed to stand on equal footing with function. The organic, analog output of human effort shaped these projects into more than just utilitarian green rectangles.