So June 12th and 14th we travelled to New York and Boston to meet local users of Upverter and Circuitmaker, east some great BBQ, and connect on the merge and how it’s all going.
Connecting in person, meeting some new friends, and some old ones, is always good!
Overall, we have so far had a good response, with most people coming to the events having used Upverter mainly, CircuitMaker a little, and it was great to be able to share plans.
The cool thing is the people who came out confirmed what we believed: that designers of the future are not necessarily electrical engineers, and that we need to bring Upverter and Circuitmaker together to create a system that’s easy to use but powerful enough to allow people of any skill or discipline to get their ideas working.
In Brooklyn, NY, JF Brandon brought along a BotFactory SV2 PCB printer – this baby is in pre-production and soon to be released so it was great having a sneak preview. Who knows, maybe he’ll let me borrow one for a while and do some vlogging with it – fingers crossed 😉
We also got to catch up with friends from PCB:NG – experts at rapid low-cost turnkey prototyping. Glad to hear the future about what we’re doing.
Myself, Zak and Mike then got the train up to Boston for the meetup on June 14th.
We picked the Cambridge district to be close to MIT and Harvard. We already knew from Google Analytics that there are a bunch of CircuitMaker and Upverter users there. On of the local hacker spaces sent a couple of representatives along too, and there were a few post-grad researchers from MIT too. Talking to these fine people again confirmed that many Upverter and CircuitMaker users have some electronics knowledge but are not Electrical Engineers in their core job, research or discipline. They asked some great questions about the future of the platform, such as:
- How does Altium propose to make electronics deisgn more accessible?
- What operating systems will we support in future versions of the CAD desktop?
- How can we improve automation so anyone can quickly route the PCB or place components?
- Which brand will remain – Upverter or CircuitMaker?
- …and many more.
To these, we answer – we want to build a system for design that let’s users essentially start with a feature spec, bring in the “modules” they need, configure, tweak, customize, and build. This is hard to do. But we think with Upverter and CircuitMaker we have the technology, DNA, and investment capital to make this real. As to OSes – that’s the beauty of cloud – any device with a browser can run Upverter. For the desktop, true cross-platform (Windows, Mac and mainstream Linux) is on the roadmap but will take a little time. Automation is an interesting one – we definitely need to beef this up if we’re going to make design accessible, and machine learning will play a significant role.
And as to the branding question?…