The Power Plant

First 100MS/s Open Source Oscilloscope for iPad, Android and PC

LabNation, an independent team of designers and entrepreneurs, developed the SmartScope, which combines three high-end instruments into one mobile, smart device. Accessible previously only to high-tech labs, the SmartScope allows everyone to own a personal lab! The SmartScope is the first lab instrument that works on both PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone.

Key product highlights:

·     2x100MS/s 45MHz Oscilloscope

·     50MS/s Arbitrary Waveform Generator

·     Digital logic analyzer at 100MS/s

·     Digital waveform generator at 100MS/s

·     200 waveforms/second data updates

The SmartScope comes open-source and provides full access to its powerful FPGA. The framework is based on FPGA registers that you can control from the PC or tablet, giving you full control over your FPGA from the first moment you're starting. Even more, the user can flash the FPGA through the USB controller, so he does not need to invest in expensive programmers!

Even more advanced projects can make use of the full-speed bi-directional data transfer capabilities, transferring data to or from your device.

On all existing USB oscilloscopes, the software clearly has been an afterthought. Not so for the SmartScope. While competitors try to imitate traditional scopes by literally demanding the user to rotate knobs with a mouse, the SmartScope makes full use of the touchscreen.

The PC software is identical to the mobile version. With intuitive operations (scroll to zoom or simply drag a rectangle, dragging to reposition) and innovative features (window pops to foreground on trigger).

LabNation's vision is to open up the market of professional electronics measurement equipment to everyone. At $179, the company believes there's no one out there offering a comparable scope. According to LabNation, adding the AWG, logic analyzer capabilities, intuitive software AND pioneering Android/iOS support would normally result in a much higher price. 

Although the required functionality (USB-OTG) is becoming a standard for Android devices the past few years, we were not able to get cooperation from Apple (yet ;). As such, our team set out to start from jailbroken iOS devices, and hack our way to the USB controller, which we eventually succeeded in. However, this means the SmartScope will only be recognized in case you apply a jailbreak patch to your iOS smartphone (which is a free, legal software operation that takes 10 minutes of your time). 

On Android, USB-OTG is supported since Android v3.1, however it depends on the age and quality of the user's phone whether USB-OTG was implemented correctly. There are sites describing how to check for USB-OTG functionality.

More specifically:

  • Windows: driver available for XP, Win7, Win8
  • OSX: supported, no driver needed (uses generic USB driver)
  • Linux: supported, no driver needed (uses generic USB driver)
  • Android: tested and verified on $52 Q88 tablet, Sony Xperia Z. More will be tested soon, but no problems expected as phones/tablets either support USB openly or not.
  • iOS: requires 5-minute legal software jailbreak patch. Tested and verified on iPad1, iPad2, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S. Will not work on iPhones 1,2,3 as they simply don't have a USB chip.

The Power/Sync port is essentially a microUSB port, whose purpose is twofold:

  • In case your tablet/smartphone is running low on battery, you can power the SmartScope through this port. This can be done using any standard microUSB charger cable.
  • More advanced, LabNation has foreseen the possibility to connect multiple SmartScopes together. In such case, synchronization between the different SmartScopes is essential. This can be achieved easily by connecting both devices through their Power/Sync port using the cable provided in the 4-channel reward package.

LabNation is a start-up company comprised of the following individuals:

  • Riemer Grootjans authored 3 books on XNA with positive reviews. He received the Microsoft MVP award in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. 
  • Prof. Maarten Kuijk: stays true to his passion: teaching parttime classes as Professor to Master students in Electronical Engineering at the University of Brussels. Maarten acts as mentor to the SmartScope project.
  • Glan Li: Born and educated in China, Glan has a wealth of experience in the areas of manufacturing and quality assurance.
  • Bruno Buyssens: is well-known in the entrepreneurial scene, constantly looking for new business ideas and eager to launch his own start-up. With LabNation, he is looking forward to take a more leading role.

After about a year of research and development, LabNation produced the first prototype in March 2013, a second version in August and third one in October. In November a small batch of 10 final products was produced in China under Glan's approving eye.



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