These itty-bitty scopes are simply fantastic. You just have to see them to understand.
I had spotted these guys at a previous Maker Faire and was hoping to see them again here. I'm not quite sure what is so appealing about them, but I suspect it is their little OLED screens.
Packed in that tiny little package is an oscilloscope, waveform generator, protocol sniffer, and more. The output is displayed on the absolutely beautiful-looking 128x64 resolution OLED screens. The refresh rate on these things is incredible and the contrast is perfect for viewing in any lighting situation. You can find details about different models Gabriel Anzziani has produced on his website.
This year Gabriel was happy to announce that he was going to be launching a Kickstarter soon to integrate all of this into the form of a watch. The Kickstarter is now live and you can see the details here.
He points out that after a while of wearing a basic watch, you start to take it for granted. There may be "smart watches" out there, but as Gabriel points out, they often don't do much that your phone couldn't do. His device, on the other hand, puts a portable measurement device on your wrist. I'm not really sure how often I would need any of the things here while I'm not in my workshop, but you never know! It sure would be handy when troubleshooting my antique vehicle wiring.
It is a cool design. I went through the webpage and it might appeal every EE. But does it make a business case?...I don't think so. Why would I need a scope/waveform generator in a watch? Again, talking about the power it takes, "When using the oscilloscope, the battery will last about 12 hours"...does it make sense for it to be in a form of an watch? Why not a pocket oscilloscope in the size of a phone or perhaps using the phone, with better specs & a bit bigger display, with more buttons/nobs? Would it be so difficult to carry if it comes in the size of a mobile phone?
Well, you would certainly get a longer battery life with the phone sized form factor. I would assume that you aren't going to have it in scope mode all the time though so the watch should last much longer. Then again, I don't want to have to charge my watch a couple times a week.
I have a proper (well full sized anyway) ARB and have often needed to generate test signals. What I do is do some testing while capturing input waveforms with my DSO and when I get a fail I take that captured input waveform and download it to the ARB and replay it creating the fail conditions which I can use to understand the failure mode. Also I can create special waveforms that reflect boundary conditions most effectively and test my designs that way. I don't use the ARB as often as my DSO but it's a great tool. I'm thinking of going with a Tek 2-ch ARB next time as this really opens up possibilities.
I can't see that many uses for a handheld CRO and signal generator, HOWEVER, there are many IT and installer folk who could use a TDR, which requires almost the same hardware. TDR's are used to send a tiny blip down a wire and look for reflections caused by breaks, joins, taps and ends of wires. It's quite easy to measure to within a few centimetres where a cable join is, for example. They can also be used for optical fibre.
This is probably a larger market for the designer than the plain old oscilloscope, as extreme portability is of concern for the installers/IT folks.
Gabriel's stuff is very cool. I have one of his older boards that I am going to build into a breadboard (when I get the time....)
As per the above posters, i wonder how useful a scope watch would really be - apart from anything else it would limit the use of the hand you were wearing it on. Maybe the strap could become a stand? The limited battery life will put a lot of people off. So maybe make a hinged cover with a solar cell on it to act as a dual-purpose charger and screen protector. or build solar cells into the strap, or sell it with a stand to sit it on overnight that acts as a charger...??
But I think Gabriel could make his money on this selling them to geeks like Max and me :-)
Yeah that would be cool. So Gabriel better build in a radio (or an MP3 player) to provide said music signal. I guess you could have it displaying the output of the generator but music would look way cooler. :-)
I own two of Gabriel's little masterpieces. The larger one sits on my test setup at work, wired into the power. I have a pair of TEK probes, and have provided BNC connections to the appropriate pins. There is nothing better for verifying sensors and switch bounce. In my line of work, sensor signals can often be something they shouldn't be, but an O'scope is considered overkill. The O'scope watch should find a place on any Field Service Engineer's or Technician's wrist.
The important things are always power and probes. If Gabriel makes an interface module with good buffering/grounding, there's no reason not to have it on a cable to a more secure location (utility belt anyone?) allowing battery augmentation and a clean probe attachment. It doesn't even _have_ to look geeky...until deployed. As for battery power, Gabriel is quite aware of current draw, and has FAQs on it for his other scopes. No reason to suppose he'll drop the ball on the watch. There are a lot of cell phone rechargers out there that can keep a watch like this going without having to leave it behind to recharge for hours. And as a scope, it'd just make sense to always have one on hand to ensure that the battery hasn't been drained in watch mode to the point where it won't work for a heavy troubleshooting session.
The number of problems I've tested and proven with the mini and micro boards justifies some real interest in the watch. Something not mentioned here, also , is that they are not program-fixed: you can get the (free) atmel studio and reprogram them to do anything you want, within the limits of the processor core. That's a lot.
I can't recommend them highly enough.
Have you seen Gabriel's video? As soon as you attach probes from the scope to your circuit, your wrist is tied to it unless you have very long probe leads. What happens if you move? You either break the probes or yank the circuit with you.