Most engineers are familiar with the multimeter, a rather ubiquitous tool in any laboratory recognizable for its brick-like shape and radial mode selector.
Multimeter design has been somewhat of a stagnant craft, the basic look and layout being maintained for a several decades. A company we met at Maker Faire New York is bringing multimeter design into the 21st century.
That company is VoltSet (@Voltset), lead by Tom Wang. He’s on a mission to make the multimeter sexy, modern, and accessible. His line of VoltSet multimeters accomplishes this by reducing the size of the hardware and connecting to a smartphone which provides a friendly user interface.
The VoltSet comes in two flavors: the Mega-VoltSet and the Mini-Voltset. The Mega-VoltSet is about the size of a deck of cards and can perform many of the standard measurements typically found in multimeters. It can handle voltage readings up to 250V, current up to 10 Amps, and even perform resistance measurements within a 3% tolerance (for the record, many axial resistors are are manufactured with 5% tolerance or greater). The Mini-VoltSet is even smaller – maybe the size of a USB key – but only offers voltage readings.
Both versions are able to connect to a smartphone via USB, through which measurements can be stored and analyzed. The data tracking feature is novel when it comes to multimeters; the ability to take and store several measurements to read at a later time is a major improvement to traditional multimeter design that any engineer or electrician can appreciate. The smartphone app developed by VoltSet also gives helpful information about the measurements taken, for example it can tell you if you are measuring an AC or DC signal.
VoltSet’s website mentions that the VoltSet will be completely programmable. In addition, anyone can write an app for their smartphone to interact with the device or add information to the official app for all other users to see. Imagine a wiki-like repository of information built by users that gives anyone with a VoltSet access to the knowledge needed to perform basic electrical tasks and repairs in their homes.
VoltSet plans to open a Kickstarter campaign sometime in the future. For now, the VoltSet is available for pre-order in limited quantity on their website, voltset.com. The pre-order Mega goes for $50 and the Mini goes for $40, and is estimated to ship by the holiday season this year.