PCBWay 3rd PCB Design Contest
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Meet the AT Maker, Madushanka Padmal

by: Jan 07,2019 1007 Views 0 Comments Posted in Activities

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PCBWay Second PCB Design Contest had come to an end. The Winner List has also been announced, any PCBWayers who have not read can go to view those outstanding awarding projects. Today, we officially interviewed the winner of AT Maker Prize, Madushanka Padmal.


PCBWay Team: “Hi Mr. Madushanka Padmal. Thanks for accepting our official interview. Could you please briefly introduce yourself? Many other PCBWayers in the community want to know more about you.”

Padmal: "Hello all! I’m Padmal from Sri Lanka. I’ve just finished my university studies in University of Moratuwa; following a degree in Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering. I enjoy myself doing embedded system designing and software/firmware programming."

PCBWay Team: “When did you start making and how did you learn?”

Padmal: "I designed my first PCB (A digital clock) in 2016 as a semester project in my university. The very first steps in designing PCBs were from university. Starting from that, I explored new areas and technologies myself."

PCBWay Team: “Can you recall how or why you became a maker?”

Padmal: "It was thank to FOSSASIA organization. I got  scratch for PSLab project made me really interested and that lead myself becoming a maker."

PCBWay Team: “How did you know about our second PCB Design Contest? And what drove you to attend this competition?”

Padmal: "I saw the advertising banners about the second PCB Design Contest while I was browsing the PCBWay website. By the time I saw it, I had this NeuroLab PCB design in my mind but wasn’t sure if I could finish it on time to submit as an entry to the contest.

I wanted to attend this competition to get a recognition for the design and ideas along with the hard work behind all this."

PCBWay Team: “About your award-winning work, NeuroLab, please tell us more details about it? And why did you choose it as your entry?” 

NeuroLab - Open Source Brain Wave Analyzing Tool.png

Padmal: "NeuroLab is an open source hardware device that interfaces brainwave signals. I am trying to use low cost but efficient components and design practices to make it available to anyone for a fairly lower price than the existing high cost devices available in the market. FOSSASIA organization is backing the project. It took me a long time to get the design done up-to the point it is now.

I saw a new category in the second PCB Design Contest as Assistive Technologies and I thought this would be a great candidate for that."

PCBWay Team:  What part of the project process excites you the most?”

Padmal: "The final phase where we do testing and the project actually works giving the expected results."

PCBWay Team:  In your opinion, what comes first - the existing technology or the design idea?”

Padmal: "The design idea comes first. Once it is well established, we can research on existing technologies and improve or modify the design idea to a better one."

PCBWay Team:  What makes you different/ unique from other makers?”

Padmal: "I would make my designs open source as much as possible; schematics, layouts and BoM etc."

PCBWay Team: “How did you feel when you found that you were one of the winners?”

Padmal: "When I saw that email, I was so thrilled. I right away shared the great news in my social media channels. I was so excited."

PCBWay Team: “What do you think is the most important inner traits to be a good PCB designer?”

Padmal: "I think it would be patience and critical thinking along with technological knowledge. A good PCB design needs all of these."

PCBWay Team: “What do you think of Open Source Hardware? And how do you look at the future of open source community?”

Padmal: "Open Source Software is well known nowadays and the concept came along quiet some time ago. Now it’s time for hardware to be open source. In my opinion, it would be a bit challenging as hardware needs to be physical (means it has some cost) to test and develop compared to software. But the future is bright for open source hardware."

PCBWay Team: “What do you think of our website and the community page? PCBWay will contribute to the open source community more. Do you have any suggestions for improvement?”

Padmal: "PCBWay website is so far the best and simplest PCB manufacturing websites I’ve browsed among many others. The community page has a lot of informative blog posts I have referred while designing. I really appreciate the sponsoring for the projects done by students and community.

It would be valuable to have a shared platform where the makers can publish the schematic diagrams and it can be get peer reviewed."

PCBWay Team: “What are ingredients of a good maker space? If you were to create and equip a new maker space for a school or library, how would your ideal solution look like?”

Padmal: "First I would make the whole space well ventilated well illuminated and air conditioned. It would have a soldering station, cutting station, a set of work benches for designing and making. Not to miss the safety equipments such as fire extinguishers, safety goggles, masks etc."

PCBWay Team: “ What do you know about Assistive Technology(AT)? It is useful for people with severe physical and cognitive challenges. How do you think the makers can be more conducive to AT community?

Padmal: "Electronic components are getting much cheaper and their functionalities getting much more advanced. This is really a good thing for makers to put out their creative thinking and design more useful stuff. They can think of designs that can be useful in assistive technologies and implement them."

PCBWay Team: “The 3rd PCB Design Contest has been in our New Year schedule, will you join in again? And would you like to suggest your friends to attend as well?”

Padmal: "I would like to participate in the third PCB Design Contest. I have some new designs in my mind. Let us see if I can get them done on time for the contest. I will request my colleagues to participate in it this year!"

PCBWay Team: “ Whats your New Years resolution for 2019?

Padmal: "Travel."

PCBWay Team: “ Any words to PCBWay or to all PCBWayers around the world?

Padmal: "Thank you for organizing such a design contest where anyone can participate. The criteria, judges, awards and everything is just perfect. Hope you would do many cool things like that in the coming days. For all the PCBWayers, I would like to say, look for open source hardware projects online and contribute to them in your free times. It would make a difference."

PCBWay Team: “ Thanks again for accepting my interview, Padmal. Wish you a very happy New Year.

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