2014 is turning out to be the year of the smart oscilloscopes. Red Pitaya was announced on Kickstarter last year and DSLogic is a new Kickstarter that reached its funding goal and was officially funded today. Just recently, a new contender hit the scene. A new team from Belgium called LabNation is offering a 50 MHz bandwidth digital “smart”-oscilloscope for a very reasonable $179. It’s called the SmartScope. Marketing spent most of their budget on that one.
The SmartScope is pretty reminiscent of the average USB based digital oscilloscope. It’s a small box with two co-ax connectors for two 100 MS/s analog signals, a USB connector, and power. But, wait… there’s more!
LabNation touts the SmartScope as “for makers, by makers”, and it shows. The SmartScope also features digital logic analyzer capability as well as a function generator. It’s basically the Swiss Army Knife for maker tools. The 100 MS/s rate should allow you to capture 50 Mhz digital signals, which covers most Atmel microcontroller clock speeds. On the other hand, 50 MHz will only provide a good analog measurement of waveforms up to 17 Mhz or so, but that will cover the majority of your communication interfaces such as SPI or I2C.
The expansion headers in the image above exist because LabNation wants you to use the SmartScope as more than just a signal analyzer, but also an interface between your devices and your own maker products. According to their website, they plan to make the device completely open. You can connect your projects using their API or even access the Xilinx chip directly and use SmartScope as an FPGA development board. Oh, and I mentioned devices plural because it will be compatible with Windows, OSX, your favorite GNU/Linux distro, iOS, and Android. Ideally, this is the all-in-one maker tool that you can take anywhere you have a device with a USB port.
The software for the SmartScope was built to take advantage of smart device features. It’s a clean looking interface, and takes full advantage of the touch screen interface allowing you to zoom and stretch the display scale using your fingers. While we don’t know exactly what the software will include, we do hope it will be as functional as it is pretty.
The kickstarter is still going strong. You can pick one Smartscope up for $179 or pay $299 for an expansion kit that allows you to tie two SmartScopes together for a 4 Channel device.
Also, watch their video below to see it in action.