The man who sent the world’s first email has died. On that day in 1971 when he sat on a rolling chair moving back and forth between his two computers he scarcely could have realized the impact that those first test messages he sent to himself would have. And while Ray Tomlinson, that emailing American programmer, might not have understood the impact his new communication would have, his idea would have not been possible without the much earlier invention of Charles Ducas, the person credited with creating the first printed circuit board (PCB) in the early 1900s.
Ray Tomlinson and Charles Ducas are far from household names, but like many who worked in the fields of technology and computer engineering are lives are greatly influenced by their creative exploration and creativity. PCB fabrication and emails are a given in today’s world of laptops, cellular phones, and other hand held devices. The 70 years between the introduction of the technology that would lead to PCB fabrication and the technology that would lead to instant world wide communication are just two examples of individual inventions that impacted the world at large.
If You Can Dream It, Someone Will Make It
A printed circuit board prototype can be specifically crafted for any need. These PCB fabrication can be as small as postage stamp or as large as a household door. And while many companies and individuals involved in the a variety of field purchase PCB fabrications that are copies of boards that people are using throughout the country, many other clients are constantly looking for prototype PCBs to fit their needs and devices. Prototype circuit boards are constantly pushing the envelope for what will be the next technology that will change our lives.
In the year 2012 the worldwide market for PCBs reached nearly $60 billion. According to IPC’s World PCB Production Report for that year, this represented nearly 2% of real growth. While every board is specifically designed for its own use, there are two basic methods for every PCB made.
The first method is the Surface Mount Assembly and the other is method is the Through Hole Construction. Using these two basic methods, develops are able to create and manipulate the design to create the right size to fit any required space. These innovative circuit board designers use computer-aided design (CAD) software to layout detailed board designs. The CAD system allows the creators to allow spaces between electrical paths that can be as small as 0.04 inches. Once the circuit paths are decided, the CAD work can also map out and determine the location of the holes for component leads, as well as contact points.
PCBs Are a Part of Everyday Life for All Americans
While even this simplified definition may seem overwhelming to some, nearly every citizen on the planet makes use of this technology. Consider this list of a few of the ways PCBs are used:
- small household appliances like toasters, computerized mixers and ice making machines
- television remotes
- cell phones
- garage door openers
- laptop computers
- digital clocks
- automobile keyless remotes
Technologies that make our lives simpler and more efficient depend upon creators like Ray Tomlinson and Charles Ducas. While we may not always know who invented the technologies that we use everyday, there is no denying the impact their creations have on us.