Michael Faraday observed that the excess charge on a charged conductor resides only on its exterior and has no influence on anything enclosed within it. To demonstrate this fact, he built a room coated with metal foil and allowed high-voltage discharges from an electrostatic generator to strike the outside of the room. He used an electroscope to show that there was no electric charge present on the inside of the room's walls. That application, known today as a Faraday cage, is commonly used in printed circuit board design to block electromagnetic fields.
Inducted May 2015
John Blankenbaker (b. 1930) is credited with designing the first commercial personal computer, which made its debut in 1971. His double-sided design predated microprocessors, relying instead on ICs mounted on a PCB for logic and MOS shift registers for serial memory. Although his company, Kenback Corp., sold only 40 units of the Kenbak-1 before shutting its doors in 1973, Blankenbaker launched an industry that has transformed not just electronics but humanity.
Inducted May 2013
Alan C. Finch (d. 2012) is known as the father of the shape-based autorouter. In 1985, Finch, with coauthors K.J. Mackenzie, G.J. Balsdon, and G. Symonds of Racal-Redac, proposed a gridless method for designing fine-line printed circuit boards. The inventors said in their groundbreaking paper, which was presented at the 22nd IEEE Design Automation Conference, that then-current designs had "stretched most previous automatic routing algorithms to the limit." Building on a concept from 1980 by Ulrich Lauther, the former Racal-Redac developer conceived a router with no defined cell size. The resulting tools forever changed the way printed circuit design is performed.
Inducted May 2013
Dr. Howard Johnson is considered the leading authority on signal integrity, having spent much of his career demonstrating the effects of analog signals in high-speed digital systems. He is author of three books, including two on high-speed design, and and has taught more than 12,000 students over his 30-plus year career. As the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' chief technical editor, Johnson wrote standards that govern Ethernet, IEEE 802.3 Fast Ethernet and IEEE 802.3 Gigabit Ethernet. In 1979, Johnson invented PhoneMail, the first integrated voice messaging system. During his career, Johnson was manager of technology and advanced development at ROLM, director of engineering at US TeleCenters, and manager of technology and advanced development at Ultra Network Technologies. He has bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Rice University.
Richard (Rich) Nedbal is credited with revolutionizing computer-aided manufacturing software for printed circuit fabrication. An electrical engineer who graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1966, Nedbal worked at Carnegie Mellon Institute from 1970 to 1976, designing system logic and integrated circuits for electronic fuel injection systems prototypes. When the research program ended, Nedbal moved to California and rose through the ranks at American Microsystems, a semiconductor design and manufacturing company. In 1982, he founded Personal CAD Systems, with the goal to develop lower cost electronic CAD tools. By 1988, P-CAD, as the company came to be known, owned the largest installed base of users in the EDA industry, with over 10,000.Two years later, P-CAD had over 100,000 users, at which point Nedbal sold the firm to Accel Technologies.
Inducted May 2013
Charles Pfeil has been a designer, owner of a service bureau, and has an engineering manager for a variety of software vendors, including Racal, ASI, Cadence, PADS, VeriBest and Mentor Graphics. He was one of the first to latch on to the concept of team design, and one of his eight patents is for his 2002 invention of parallel electronic design (also known as shared simultaneous editing), a method that allowed multiple users to edit shared areas of a master design while preserving the design integrity. Other patents described distributed autorouting and breakouts. During his 40-plus year career, Pfeil invented multiple CAD tools (including XtremePCB and XtremeAR, and TeamPCB for Mentor Graphics, where he also was product architect for Expedition PCB). He authored BGA Breakouts and Routing, a well-received book on designing with ball grid arrays.