Startup JITX Uses AI To Automate Complex Circuit Board Design

- Aug 28, 2018-

AI has the potential to take much of the dull complexity out of designing custom circuit boards

Illustration of code and a circuit board.

While anyone can learn how to design a circuit board, it takes a skilled engineer to design a circuit board that is both well optimized and unlikely to melt, explode, or cause whatever it's controlling to melt or explode. Skilled engineers tend to be busy and expensive and on the ornery side, especially if you ask them to do things that don't take full advantage of how brilliant they are. 

JITX is a startup founded by a team of electrical and mechanical engineers from UC Berkeley that's building AI with the goal of designing optimized circuit boards in hours instead of weeks. As a result, the engineer’s hands-on role is minimized in favor of a more supervisory role. You tell the system at a high level what you care about, and then it designs a working PCB with everything you don't care about figured out for you. Your engineering expertise remains focused exactly where it’s needed, and the system turns out circuit board designs that are faster, better, and cheaper.

The CEO of JITX is Duncan Haldane, who is responsible for a"hyper aggressive pogo stick"robotcalledSalto1PA substantial amount of the work that went into designing Salto-1P (as well as many other robots) involved developing custom hardware, including circuit boards. Haldane and his colleagues found themselves having to continually start over from scratch every time they wanted to do something new. “We realized how little of our time we were spending on our core activity—the research,” says Haldane. “All of our time was focused on low-level hardware design. The amount of effort it takes to design custom hardware is a huge barrier in the way of new and creative systems.”