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.