At the Maker Faire in New York, I had the pleasure to meet electrical engineer Gabriel Anzziani. His company, Gabotronics, is dedicated to making super-small tools for makers and engineers at a reasonable price. He told me he has spent the past four years developing his products: a line of miniture and portable oscilloscopes which he dubs “the world’s smallest”. A number of these covered the entire surface of his table at the Faire, for the most part little screens with little white squiggles. What’s fascinating about these squiggles is that they can represent a live electrical signal at a very reasonable accuracy.
The Xprotolab pictured above could possibly be the smallest oscilloscope. With the additional features of a waveform generator and protocol sniffer, not to mention its $49 price tag, it makes for an enticing package for anyone looking to get there hands on some signal analysis for their small AVR projects.
Even more incredible, Mr. Anzziani plans to one-up the Xprotolab with a new product displayed at the Maker Faire and as of today, open to funding on Kickstarer: the Oscilloscope Watch.
The Official Kickstarter announcement image. Pretty slick for a prototype.
The watch will feature the same powerful features of the Xprotolab. This includes:
- An oscilloscope
- A waveform generator
- A logic analyzer
- A protocol sniffer
- A frequency counter
He also mentions in his kickstarter video (see end of this post) that it can be programmed with some simple video games. (But, what’s more fun than a logic analyzer?) The video also demonstrates that it includes all of the basic oscilloscope functionality such as triggering, cursors, and dual signal input. With an input voltage range of -14V to 20V, you won’t be able to replace your Agilent Oscilloscope anytime soon, but it will be more than sufficient for Arduino or any AVR work. Not to mention it does tell the time and has an alarm like any proper wristwatch (take that, Agilent!). Mr. Anzziani estimates the watch can run on its battery for 30 days when the oscilloscope is not used, and up to 12 hours while taking measurements. He told us that the battery will be charged by its USB connection.
The watch is priced at $125 according to the kickstarter, or $100 if you are one of the first 100 backers. Compared to any lab-grade device, it’s an absolute steal. Even in light of other hobby-level devices (such as the Red Pitaya), Gabotronic’s Oscilloscope watch could be the low-cost oscilloscope alternative that brings electronics analysis to the masses. Mr. Anzziani has two successful kickstarters under his belt and with pcb designs already crafted, he plans to design and ship the device within six months after the campaign.
So, if you’re in need of an oscilloscope for your Arduino project that won’t break the bank, or you are enticed by the idea of displaying a waveform on your wrist as a fashion accessory, check out the Oscilloscope Watch Kickstarter here.