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T&M Turns to Open-Source, Kickstarter
7/22/2013

The Red Pitaya open-source instrumentation system could go into volume manufacturing if a Kickstarter project is successful.(Source: Red Pitaya LLC)
The Red Pitaya open-source instrumentation system could go into volume manufacturing if a Kickstarter project is successful.
(Source: Red Pitaya LLC)

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eewiz
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Interesting idea
eewiz   7/22/2013 11:16:10 AM
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Awesome idea....It is time somebody came up with something like this. With all this computing power in smartphones, most of the things done by hardware in the T&M instruments can be done by software in smartphones. So why pay huge $$$ to Agilent and others..

The price, 299$ , although much lower than the instruments it replace, seems higher than BOM. so we can similar cheaper devices in future.

There was this company http://www.redfishinstruments.com/products doing similar things.. No news for a long time though

Peter Clarke
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Re: Interesting idea
Peter Clarke   7/22/2013 11:47:10 AM
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Yes it does seem like an interesting idea.

It reminds me of when PC add-in cards suddenly created a spate of PC add ons.

It now seems that smartphone, tablet is creating a similar round of activity.

 

"The price, 299$ , although much lower than the instruments it replace, seems higher than BOM. so we can similar cheaper devices in future,:" said eewiz.

Wow you want a lot....Of course it is higher than the BOM. How else can the founders of Red Pitaya make their fortunes.

$299 is described as a promotional price, implying you can expect the price to go up after they have launched the company.

But could industry buy these boards and create added value business around them? Or is it just for hobbyists?

 

 

patrick.mannion
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Re: Interesting idea
patrick.mannion   7/22/2013 8:40:53 PM
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Hey eewiz, luckily for Agilent it doesn't try and differentiate in the low end of the market where this is targeted. It subs that out to Rigol. This is great for the handy EE who wants to experiment on the side, but for serious test, lets give open source and companie like Redfish some time:)

Kinnar
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Great Initiative in T&M Segment
Kinnar   7/22/2013 11:46:56 AM
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Really a very great initiative in the T&M is going very a costly affair for a mid size or small firms, most of the time they remain hand cuffed or ask for rentals of high end equipments, where as they do have enough expertise of modifying or developing T&M provided a Working Template or Option is available. This open source initiative will be surely help those developers. Great work done, and the same to be done ahead.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Great Initiative in T&M Segment
Peter Clarke   7/22/2013 11:50:57 AM
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@kinnar

It is not entirely clear how far Red Pitaya's open-source commitment goes.

It looks strong in software, still there in FPGA implementation but will the company be happy if I clone the board and sell it $10 cheaper.

They may argue that the cloud-based market in apps and applets wiill maintain their advantage.

 

 

 

 

Kinnar
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Re: Great Initiative in T&M Segment
Kinnar   7/22/2013 12:05:50 PM
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You are on the right point, but this where the open source industry ( yes I would say industry ) is running around, ultimately there will be somewhere a catch. But still these initiatives will be a great source of information and resource for small firms and developers. 

Sheetal.Pandey
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Re: Great Initiative in T&M Segment
Sheetal.Pandey   7/22/2013 1:58:42 PM
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Thats a good move. T&M industry needed this from long time.

goafrit
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Re: Great Initiative in T&M Segment
goafrit   7/22/2013 9:51:07 PM
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It is always strange that T&M does not get a lot of support or recognition in schools and in companies despite testing taking most of chip development costs. Hope we can innovate in that process in the open space.

mcgrathdylan
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Re: Great Initiative in T&M Segment
mcgrathdylan   7/22/2013 2:47:22 PM
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@Kinnar- what type of a "catch" do you anticipate? I thought that everyone was all for open source initiatives.

Kinnar
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Re: Great Initiative in T&M Segment
Kinnar   7/23/2013 1:23:25 AM
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There are many alterations being made in the open source community terms and conditions. First, the community and paid versions will be announced. Second always the required future will be kept open only in the paid versions, Third no one knows how much efforts of community developers will be used in the paid version. Fourth for the developer will ask for the maintenance and this will be covering huge revenue when a open source initiative is well accepts throughout the world. And there are still many things and issues that really come up in mind. Yes I am not pin pointing any initiative and supporting organisations. There are many good really open source initiative and supporting organisations. The points I discusses above are simply general inputs by me it is not at all connected with the article in discussion here.

DMcCunney
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Re: Great Initiative in T&M Segment
DMcCunney   7/23/2013 10:44:15 AM
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The fundamental issue with open source is how you make money.  I had a conversation with a friend who is heavily involved in open source, and asked "How do you make a living doing open source development?"  His answer was what I expected: you get a job at Google, IBM, or other big outfit that makes extensive use of open source code and pays engineers to hack it for their own benefit.

Most developers I'm aware of contributing to open source projects do so on the side, and develop closed source stuff for money.

 

DMcCunney
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Re: Great Initiative in T&M Segment
DMcCunney   7/23/2013 10:36:37 AM
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It looks strong in software, still there in FPGA implementation but will the company be happy if I clone the board and sell it $10 cheaper.

The Kicksatarter price is a promotional price, but the website seems to indicate standard price is $359.  What would it cost you to clone the board, and is there a big enough market for you to sell profitably at $349?  They are counting on their price being low enough that it's not worth your while to bother.

The open source nature of the hardware will allow test engineers to collaborate of future interations of the board with expanded capabilities.

This has possibilites well beyond the hobbyist, simply due to form factor.  You can carry it around and use it in cases where you don't have a room full of the bigger pro gear available.  It may not do everything the big boys do, but what it does may be enough to meet your needs.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Great Initiative in T&M Segment
Peter Clarke   7/24/2013 5:23:21 AM
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I am wondering if the 60-MHz bandwidth is going to ba big problem for commercial work.

When I started 60-MHz oscilloscopes were pretty powerful and expensive things but then again clock frequencies for digital electronics were down at a few megahertz.

 

 

Tom Murphy
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Not Enough?
Tom Murphy   7/22/2013 7:38:01 PM
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In the words of a one-time rock hit "Fifth thou a year will buy a lot of beer," but I'm not sure it's nearly enough to finance this project and properly compensate the creators. 

How much money would you expect to build this? 

Peter Clarke
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Re: Not Enough?
Peter Clarke   7/23/2013 4:56:02 AM
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@Tom

 

I agree that $50,000 is not a lot of money. But on Kickstarter it is very important that you hit your target or you get nothing.

 For all we know they may have a few millions from another source and this is a bit of marketing exercise...I should have asked that question in my email correspondence.

More likely they want ot make sure they blow past their Kickstarter target, not for the money, but so they can go to the VCs and say look, we are successful, have customers and traction NOW invest a few million.

This is something Simon Barker touched on in recent articles.

 

{doclink 1318830}

{doclink 1318909}

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Not Enough?
MeasurementBlues   7/23/2013 12:59:30 PM
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Day 2 of 60, and the total is $38,821 with 58 backers. Looks like $50,000 will be easy.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Not Enough?
Peter Clarke   7/24/2013 5:25:41 AM
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In which case they will get their money...And perhaps they can invent a new project....such as Red Pitaya Ultra, where the bandwidth goes up to 120-MHz....and put a $100,000 target on that one.

 

 

rich.pell
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Re: Not Enough?
rich.pell   7/24/2013 6:17:59 AM
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Red Pitaya LLC has a partner in Instrumentation Technologies, who likely will be footing some of the bills should the project go on to be funded (which seems likely).

Peter Clarke
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Re: Not Enough?
Peter Clarke   7/24/2013 6:45:29 AM
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Yes, I believe the CEO of Red Pitaya came from Instrumentation Technologies.

It looks like Instrumentation Technologies is a company addressing physics particle detection and that Red Pitaya is a spin off. Although there also seems to be a sense it which Instrumentation Technologies is operating an incubator policy.

Perhaps we will see more T&M spin offs?

 

Borut Baricevic
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Re: Not Enough?
Borut Baricevic   7/27/2013 3:18:46 AM
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Yes, I confirm that Red Pitaya is Instrumentation Technologies spin off. The Red Pitaya startup company team members have all been working for Instrumentation Technologies. All the informations concerning the Red Pitaya team are available at: http://kck.st/13xfdee

 

selinz
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Re: Not Enough?
selinz   7/27/2013 5:31:50 PM
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Interesting. A nice way to fund something that is slightly off the "mainstream."

Peter Clarke
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Target reached
Peter Clarke   7/29/2013 5:08:26 AM
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Congratulations to Borut and the team at Red Pitaya.

You made your target.

Perhaps you should have set the target higher?

But hindsights a wonderful thing.

Can you create a higher specification "Red Pitaya Ultra" project as there seems to be much appetite for reconfigurable, open-source T&M?

 

 

 

Luis Sanchez
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TM in manufacturing
Luis Sanchez   7/22/2013 11:00:45 PM
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Will this in the future, be competition to National Instruments? 

They are up on the hill with their LabView software and the great array of test and automation equipment which spans from ADC's and acquisistion boards to relays and image recognition systems. Mmm they might be on the right track as... there's a lot to work on. I hope they make a graphical programming language.

Peter Clarke
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Re: TM in manufacturing
Peter Clarke   7/23/2013 5:26:05 AM
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@Luis

In time they may compete -- in a different way.

To read Baricevic in his email it is clear that the FPGA reconfigurability and the cloud infrastructure are a key part of this offering.

I think downloadable hardware personalities plus downloadable apps is a great idea, but it probably can't compete at the leading edge.

But great at low RF and audio frequencies.

 

MeasurementBlues
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Re: TM in manufacturing
MeasurementBlues   7/23/2013 1:30:57 PM
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@Luis, It will take more than this no knock off NI and its loyal legions of LabVIEW programmers. There have been several low-cost platforms like this one, such as Overton Instruments, but this is the first Kickstarter project for T&M that I've seen.

 

 

MeasurementBlues
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Even a UART
MeasurementBlues   7/23/2013 1:02:10 PM
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Red Pitaya goes to show that The Serial Port: It Just Keeps Going.

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