Students introduced to electronics design

Friday, 25 January, 2008

Altium Limited, a Sydney-based Australian electronics design software company, is working with the University of New South Wales Gifted Education Research Resource and Information Centre (GERRIC) to introduce high school students to the future of electronics design.

Each year, GERRIC — part of the University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences — holds a series of workshops that deliver challenging and compelling subjects for gifted children ranging from kindergarten to grade 10.

As part of GERRIC’s Scientia challenge, which is aimed at students between grades 7 to 10, Altium will be running a two-day class on how to design and create digital systems using Altium’s unified electronics design software tool, Altium Designer — the same system used by NASA’s Johnson Space Center, BMW Motorsports and Cochlear.

Marty Hauff, manager, Altium Designer Applied Technologies, will present the workshop.

Some of the topics covered will include binary, numbers, digital logic gates, Boolean algebra and computer arithmetic, and how computers create and calculate these numbers. Students will use this knowledge — and Altium Designer — to design their own traffic light controller.

“Electronics design must change in the future — and I hope that some of these students will shake up our industry in perhaps 10 years’ time,” said Hauff.

“The internet and the increase in mobile communications pose some interesting challenges for electronics designers. Device intelligence and connectivity are becoming increasingly important to a product’s success, and need to be at the centre of the overall design process. Young people, who are regularly connected to the internet or wired for sound through products such as the iPod, are already aware of this. And these students will either create those products, or use them, in the future.”

Traditionally, electronics design has been taught at universities and other higher education institutions. Altium’s GERRIC class will now open this discipline to younger, tech-savvy students and show that electronics design can be easy, interesting and fun.

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