3D circuit boards. A possibility for the future?

Started by Ell, January 27, 2023, 07:40:08 PM

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Ell

I've recently been wondering if this could be possible: Imagine a cube, and inside that cube is a 3D structure made of connected components. It could be components standing on other components, and built in a way that is logical. Or, it could be that the inside walls of the cube are faces of the circuit board. You might immediately be thinking, "What's the point" or "that doesn't sound very reliable", but would there be any benefits to such a shape? You could theoretically make these very very small, couldn't you?

While I'm on this path of predicting future technology, I'll drop another thought that I've been considering for some time.
Analogue intelligence.
Computers are digital, but, what if there were more shades of meaning between 1 and 0? How do the synapses and neutrons of the human brain really work? It isn't really just ON or OFF is it? Or, are there STRENGTHS to the connections? When we learn something more deeply, don't we strengthen those connections? And when we barely know something, and we are trying to remember the Spanish word for "aardvark", it might be in there, but the connection is so weak that it's difficult to bring to mind immediately. Would it benefit computers to think in more grey terms like ourselves? They could perhaps understand shades of meaning and metaphors if there was some element of ambiguity possible within their hardware.

I know this is a forum for making guitar pedals. I just got a bit carried away there... Guess I'll make another fuzz and stfu lol

PRR

#1
https://www.google.com/search?q=cordwood+circuit

> what if there were more shades of meaning between 1 and 0?

In the past G.E. worked on a trinary, 3 logic states, logic scheme. (This is not the Tri-state to cut an output off a bus.) Didn't fly. Does not scale well.

If I understood Quantum Computing (and I don't) it might be that it ponders all the in-betweens all at once.
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bowanderror

Quote from: Ell on January 27, 2023, 07:40:08 PM
While I'm on this path of predicting future technology, I'll drop another thought that I've been considering for some time.
Analogue intelligence.
Computers are digital, but, what if there were more shades of meaning between 1 and 0?

There are devices that use this principle, analog computers. Interestingly, the first devices that we now think of as computers (Antikythera Mechanism/planisphere/astrolabe/etc.) were analog rather than digital. They were pretty popular in the 20th century for aiming & guiding weapons, and are still in use in things like flight computers. Analog computers generally faded out because of their susceptibility to noise and drift, and the increased difficulty of miniaturizing, ruggedizing, and reprogramming them compared to digital computers.

Quote from: Ell on January 27, 2023, 07:40:08 PM
How do the synapses and neutrons of the human brain really work? It isn't really just ON or OFF is it? Or, are there STRENGTHS to the connections? When we learn something more deeply, don't we strengthen those connections? And when we barely know something, and we are trying to remember the Spanish word for "aardvark", it might be in there, but the connection is so weak that it's difficult to bring to mind immediately. Would it benefit computers to think in more grey terms like ourselves? They could perhaps understand shades of meaning and metaphors if there was some element of ambiguity possible within their hardware.

There is no real consensus in the scientific community on whether the brain is "analog" or "digital", but it does exhibit features of we would associate with both. Your neurons transmit information in series of electric pulses that are (somewhat) analogous to how a digital computer transmits data. What the larger brain structure does with that data, how it processes the barrage of signals into "cognition", seems to function more like an analog computer. So maybe we already are the best of both worlds?

Rob Strand

Entombing components makes cooling more difficult.   High density electronics often use backplanes or a mezzanine stack.   These planar constructs allow the air to pass over the components.

https://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/backplane

When designing or repairing backplane-based systems you often need an extender card, which is PCB with only tracks and connectors, which raises the PCB out of the slots.
Send:     . .- .-. - .... / - --- / --. --- .-. -
According to the water analogy of electricity, transistor leakage is caused by holes.

amptramp

We used to buy in flexprints for sensor attachments in Infrared remote sensing systems.  Although we never used them for circuitry, some people did and found that the ability to flex meant that solder connections came apart easily.  There are compact 3-D sandwich structures called cordwood and these were popular in avionics for a time but are certainly not for beginners.

I'm waiting for someone to do a cordwood Vero board project.  Insanity and blindness will ensue.

The second object you were talking about appears to be fuzzy logic.  I haven't seen much done with it lately, but it was the darling of late 20th century computing for some purposes.  This was back when precision computing was still large and expensive but once you could drop an embedded PC into virtually anything with the huge array of pre-programmed software available, it was sort of abandoned.

One interesting device from about 40 years ago was the Transputer, an IC which was a computer with four UARTs as I/O devices and no other I/O like parallel ports.  These devices were supposed to be strung together in arrays to do jobs like image processing where a number of relatively dumb computers could do the work of a supercomputer.  This was another idea that fell by the wayside because programmers do not think in terms of array multiprocessing with time constraints for an entire array.  There was no language for this and not much experience of any kind.  People visualized 2-dimensional FFT processors that could encode and decode images, but the programming skills never really got there.

Phend

#5
In pictures from duck_arse "cordwood"
https://imgur.com/a/q9UKMug

And a 3D whatever thingamagidgitwtf



Never did a 3 dimension array in Fortran. No thanks.
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Humm, I remember when I was older

PRR

#6
> from duck_arse "cordwood"

I knew it was on here somewhere but the SEARCH function is lame.

> I'm waiting for someone to do a cordwood Vero board project.  Insanity and blindness will ensue.

Sorry, perf. And you were there!

https://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/index.php?topic=116873.40

Quote from: duck_arse on October 27, 2017, 10:00:36 AMdear lord, NO! make it stop.
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merlinb

#7
They already make embedded PCBs with components trapped inside. Or there is the poor man's version :icon_lol:
I suspect eventually they will be able to 3D-print whole circuits as a solid block, your mobile phone will basically be a solid chunk of resin.
https://hackaday.com/2019/01/18/oreo-construction-hiding-your-components-inside-the-pcb/