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In the most fundamental sense, the term circuit refers to a physical or conceptual loop, often with an emphasis on resolving or closing that loop to accommodate various operations associated with electrical systems or other technologies. In IT, the term is often used when discussing the physical manufacturing of devices or pieces of hardware.
Over time, the physical concept of an electrical circuit has developed along with various other advancements in electronics. For example, a newer type of circuit board called a printed circuit board (PCB) allows for more efficient types of mass production for hardware. These types of boards are also sometimes called etched boards because of the fine manipulation of copper or conductive materials to create core functionality.
Innovations like PCBs have enabled smaller devices through strategies like layering circuitry on a board, or using lasers to drill very small holes in a PCB design. This technology has complemented the manufacturing of ever smaller processors, and has made it possible for advanced electronic functionality to be put into hardware pieces as small as a standard identification card, or a very small portable computing device such as the Raspberry Pi, a newer example of a low-cost, small-scale consumer device. These new advances have changed the manufacturing and engineering of circuits in fundamental ways, which is a major part of both electrical and data hardware design.