Advanced Technologies

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Concept image, futuristic holographic interface

Today's compact electronic products are delivered in compact and unusually shaped enclosures. Often powered by batteries they are light-weight and portable, requiring lower signal voltages and power consumption. And these compact designs use the latest device technologies with fast switching speeds, speeds so fast that the routing is no longer a set of simple copper paths that carry a current and expresses a voltage, now the routes are an array of transmission lines - turning the routing process into an engineering analysis and design challenge in its own right.

All of this brings many new challenges for the design and implementation phase of electronic product development. Various design technologies have emerged to help, many of which are available in Altium Designer.

Direct Layout & Routing on a 3D Substrate

3D-MID technology combines electrical circuits with three-dimensional mechanical parts. This fusion of functionality opens up a world of possibilities within a vast range of application areas.

Historically, designers of 3D-MIDs have generally been restricted to MCAD packages due to the lack of suitable ECAD tools. There are many problems inherent to this way of working, not least is the absence of any electrical intelligence to drive the circuit layout and the difficulties associated with projecting 2D manually-drawn sketches onto 3D surfaces.

The new 3D routing technology allows you to place standard surface mount components onto a 3D shape and route traces along the surface of the shape to complete the layout.

The completed design can then be exported in the file format required by the Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) manufacturing process.

Learn more about Direct Layout & Routing on a 3D Substrate

Printed Electronics

An exciting evolution in the design and development of electronic products is the ability to print the electronic circuit directly onto a substrate, such as a plastic molding that becomes a part of the product.

Printed electronics will become a pivotal technology, allowing the integration of electronics into new markets. Printed electronics allow an intimate connection between the circuit and the product. From a flexible sensor that attaches directly to the body, through to a multi-sensor, finger tip-shaped molding that allows a robotic hand to hold a soft plastic cup as liquid is poured into it, printed electronics will allow innovative new solutions to be developed across many market segments. 

Learn more about Printed Electronics

Designing with Embedded Components

The ever-increasing demand for smaller and more integrated electronic products, combined with the higher frequencies of the signals within these devices, drives the ongoing research into better ways to fabricate and assemble a circuit.

One technique that delivers both higher density and improved support for higher signal frequencies, is to embed components within the layers of the circuit structure. For example, embedding discrete components directly under an integrated circuit can result in: shorter signal lengths; reduced resistance and parasitic inductance, leading to lower noise and EMI; and improved integrity of the circuit signals. These improvements deliver smaller and more reliable products, supporting faster signal speeds and higher bandwidths. Combined with the on-going improvements being achieved in fabrication processes and technologies, they can also lead to a reduction in the product size, and lower fabrication and board level assembly costs.

Embedding components places a number of unusual demands on each stage of the process: from design, to fabrication, to assembly, to testing and maintenance of the finished product.

Learn more about Embedded Components

Designing with Touch Controls

Concept image, touch interface

Touch sensitive electronics are on the forefront of technology. As the user interface becomes more important to the success of your product, clean and modern controls are now considered essential.

Adding a touch sensor to your electronic product is a process that starts at the beginning of a design, and extends into the board design process. Altium Designer's touch sensor support allows you do to easily integrate touch sensors into your design workflow.

Altium Designer's touch control support includes:

  • Configurable touch sensor libraries that let you set the controls and parameters of your device from the start.
  • Automatically generate the complex land patterns and footprints required for touch sensors.
  • Model and verify your designs in Native 3D to make sure they are aligned and fit correctly.
  • Atmel® QTouch® and QMatrix® libraries; Cypress® Capsense® libraries; & Microchip® mTouch® libraries

Learn more about Designing with Touch Controls

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The features available depend on your Altium product access level. Compare features included in the various levels of Altium Designer Software Subscription and functionality delivered through applications provided by the Altium 365 platform.

If you don’t see a discussed feature in your software, contact Altium Sales to find out more.