In the well known science fiction film 2001 A Space Odyssey there is a scene in which Bowman and Poole are trying to locate the fault in the AE-35 unit. If memory serves, they use a tool which allows for probing the circuit board and seeing on a monitor in real time some paths in the circuit light up and flash, as well as other information about the circuit's operation. This leads them to conclude there is no fault. My question is whether such a tool now exists in the real world, and if so which companies manufacture it. I have tried various online searches but so far I can't find the answer, so I hope the experts on this forum can answer. This is my first post, and I thank anyone who takes the time to answer.
There is no tool quite like that. The closest thing is a TDR (time domain reflectometer). This tool sends a voltage pulse down a conductor and by measuring reflections can provide many insights. For example if there was a broken trace on a circuit board, or a component is blown up, you can see that.
It may be possible to probe a good circuit with a TDR to capture known good signatures and then look at a failing circuit for differences.
It's a stretch to liken it too much to that scene but it's somewhat reminiscent.