Most USB oscilloscopes have been designed for use in combination with a Windows or Linux PC. The SmartScope is an exception to this: it works just as well with an Android tablet, an iPad or an OS X system. The software has been designed to make the user interface appear identical across all platforms. We’ve tried one out on a PC and a tablet.
A fair number of (USB) oscilloscopes have previously been reviewed and tested in Elektor. However, the SmartScope is a measuring instrument that differs significantly from the competition, in both hardware as well as software. Before we take a closer look at the SmartScope, we’ll first find out how this project got started.
When electronic engineer Riemer Grootjans acquired a number of different USB scopes for use at work and at home, he wasn’t very pleased with these devices. He started to think about designing one himself, which would have all the features he expected of a USB scope: versatile, portable, easily extended, and with an intuitive user interface. He started to design the SmartScope along with two of his friends and set up a Kickstarter campaign. Within a month their company (LabNation) achieved over $300,000 of funding, which was sufficient to start planning the production of these devices. A lot of hard work was still ahead of them in the following few months. Although the design for the hardware was completed before the Kickstarter campaign, there turned out to be so much demand for a sample buffer in the hardware that they decided to create a completely new design. They succeeded after many sleepless nights, and by the end of 2014, all of their 1500 backers had received their SmartScope (the production started in August 2014).