What Happens when Complexity is Free? What Happens when Complexity is Free?

I recently talked with someone wanting to build a specialized Android tablet. Their comment on prototype units was to 3D-print the case; it’s less expensive, good enough, and can be modified numerous times in a day until they “get it right.” In essence, they were saying that the complexity of product packaging has moved from “do everything possible to be right the first time” (great design complexity) to quickly refine the design iteratively until it’s good enough (much less design complexity). That made me wonder how this type of thinking could change the whole FPGA market. What happens when Place & Route is as fast and easy to use as software compilers; when FPGA IP is as understandable and easy to use as software apps; when . . . well, you get the idea. Will FPGA designs then come from 12 year-olds trying to win some Internet contest? Will they be crowd-sourced from 3rd world nations? What will this mean to our industry?