The origins of PCBmodE
I've been obsessively doodling all my life. I've got notebooks and pieces of paper full of abstract drawings of meaningless stuff, from my teenage years until today. Any time there's a piece of paper and a pen or pencil about, I start doodling. I used to publish some of my more recent and elaborate drawings on my personal blog.
As a person of very few hobbies, I decided to pick up painting on canvas. I'm not very talented in drawing real things like fruits, landscapes and humans, so I experimented with abstract colourful paintings and even ones where I tried to add a physical third dimension. I used themes that are very common with my usual doodles.
In a process that happened naturally, I gradually gravitated towards painting circuits and logic, and I experimented with several techniques and concepts.
And this is probably the most complete work that's circuit related.
So how all of this related to PCBmodE? While I was painting these abstract circuits I started asking myself why am I not making circuits -- another thing I love doing -- that are art.
I was painting circuits, but I was thinking of designing circuit art!
My initial thought in this direction was to create a large wall-mounted piece piece that had electronics embedded in it that enhanced the visual experience.
Also, for years I've been having thoughts on how to successfully innovate in the innovation-hostile EDA industry, following a decade-long frustration with poor usability of EDA tools (and one failure to get a company going in this area). I generally and passionately despise the limitations EDA tools impose on creativity, productivity, and imagination.
Suddenly those two seemingly unrelated threads came together at a time when I had to be flexible with my schedule, and when I was finishing a job. I then started writing a PCB design tool of my own, PCBmodE, as no other tool could give me the creative freedom that I needed. Roughly a year later I created the 'lifegame', which is the realisation of the initial vision I had for the software.