Circuit Mind: Shaping the Future of Electronic Systems
Electronic systems are nowadays everywhere – from the mobile phones in your pockets to the autonomous vehicles that will drive us around in the future. However, the design process hasn’t changed much from the Apple I in 1976 to the MacBook Pro 14 in 2021.
It’s still based mostly on manual labor by electrical engineers: Selecting the right components, arranging them on a board, and finally testing the design and checking whether it fulfills all requirements. It could take months to develop a new circuit design and go through costly hardware prototyping.
What if an AI could assist engineers to design electronic circuits? Tomide Adesanmi and Basilio Gentile had that in mind when founding Circuit Mind in 2018 through the Entrepreneur First program in London. After raising a seed round in 2019 from Entrepreneur First, Episode 1 Ventures, and Join Capital, Circuit Mind also received non-dilutive funding from Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in 2021 and was part of the Creative Destructions Lab and Deep Tech Labs accelerator program.
Learn more about the future of electronic systems from our interview with the CEO Tomide Adesanmi:
Why Did You Start Circuit Mind?
Developing hardware is a hard problem. When working at BAE Systems, I experienced how challenging designing electronic circuits can be – it took months, sometimes years, to go from concept to developing an AR display system. But what if it could be sped up using AI?
I had that idea in mind when I left BAE Systems to join the Entrepreneur First program in 2018, looking for a co-founder. And fortunately, I met Basilio there. We resonated well, and with his background from two Masters – in electrical engineering and maths – and a Ph.D. from ETH Zurich, and my industry experience in electronic systems, we formed a strong team to tackle that challenge.
It’s not easy for non-experts in electronics to know that this problem exists, putting little pressure on the market. And established players were mostly focused on incremental improvements. They didn’t have an incentive to rethink the circuit design process from scratch as it would have jeopardized their current business – the innovator’s dilemma.
How Does an Electronic System Compiler Work?
Circuit Mind has developed the first electronic system compiler: the Autonomous Circuit Engineer system (ACE). Based on digital twin models of electronic components and advanced algorithms, it generates circuits matching the given requirements within 60 seconds instead of months.
It checks algorithmically upfront whether a design will work and suggests candidate designs, optimized for size, cost, power, and searches through millions of possible design choices. Also, it plugs seamlessly into the current workflows of electrical engineers, who are relieved from the tedious low-level tasks and can focus on high-level creative tasks.
How Did You Evaluate Your Startup Idea?
I knew the problem and lots of people dealing with it very well – getting interviews with electronics engineers or VPs of Research and Development was relatively easy. The challenge always boils down to bringing products to market faster, increasing performance, reacting to supply chain issues, or simply doing more RnD with the same resources.
We figured out our solution by having algorithms engineers sit down with electronics engineers and talk to each other. Following the circuit design process over several weeks, we could teach a computer how to do each step. Then we tested our method through PoC design projects, demonstrating that we could improve the speed, optimize the circuit size, and reduce the bill of material costs.
My vision for Circuit Mind in 7 years: To make circuit design so straightforward that even 15-year-old teenagers on their laptop click a button, get a circuit board design, order it on Amazon and get a fully assembled electronic circuit board to build their own computer.