Yesterday, March 11, is a day I will always remember. Why? Because finally someone answered my call for a new oscilloscope user interface. At OFC 2014, Agilent Technologies demonstrated the new user interface for its Infiniium line of oscilloscopes, which does what I want all oscilloscopes to do.
When I first saw the Oscium oscilloscope that attaches to an iPad or iPhone in 2011, I knew I had seen the next generation of oscilloscope interfaces. Since then, every time an oscilloscope company came by to show its new products, I asked "When are you going to make your oscilloscopes work like the Oscium?"
I heard the same response every time: that engineers are slow to adopt a new way to use their test equipment, especially oscilloscopes. Every company told me that engineers still wanted to adjust time/div and volts/div with knobs.
Still, I knew that using your fingers to zoom in or out on a waveform would eventually win out. As the next generation of engineers -- those who grew up with smartphones -- enter engineering labs, they will want to use their oscilloscopes to operate just as they use their phones and tablets: with finger gestures.
I again asked for an iOS-like user interface following a live demo of Agilent's new user interface for its Infiniium series of oscilloscopes at OFC. This time, I didn't get the usual answer. See the video below.
Finally, somebody listened to me. Agilent's Brig Asay also gave me a complete live demonstration of the new user interface. You can see that in Agilent debuts high-end oscilloscopes at OFC.