Wednesday, 28 April 2010

What's it all about?

Ok, so, enough preamble, what is this all about you ask?

For a long time I've dreamed of having a way to make the creation of electro-mechanical, electronic, electrical and purely software devices easier by replacing all the custom control electronics with a computer. This is a fairly obvious approach, nothing new there you say, but I am after something more powerful, I want to be able to construct the controlling software with the same methods and techniques used when creating the physical parts. Designing, inventing, and creating a physical system or machine is a process of experimentation, testing, iterating, and trial-and-error. It involves wiring up motors, switches, lights, sensors, modules, relays, solenoids, valves, and more to IO ports of a computer or microcontroller, fiddling with wiring, tweaking controls, watching the effects, plugging them together in a way you have never before to create something new. I want the same process for the software that runs them. I want to be able to drag virtual components and circuits around the screen, plugging them together this way and that, tweaking values and watching the results, a fully interactive control system working with the hardware, all in real-time. I have so many projects that could work like this, so many things I want to experiment with, so many ideas, so much that could be done with a system like this, that it has become a project to preceed all other projects. Every time I think of a new idea it rapidly degenerates into 'how much easier this would be if my control system idea existed', and then to 'there's no point investing any time in hard wiring/coding my idea when I could be working on this general solution that will benefit all projects so much...'.

And so, we have my project, a technology I am calling Virtual Information Circuitry Engineering, or V.I.C.E. for short. I'll expand on what it entails next.

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