In this week's live online chat on Thursday, June 21, we are going to talk about all sorts of things as usual, but in particular we are going to bounce some ideas around with regard to what we would like to see in an iPad-based multimeter.
How did this all come about? Well, as you may recall, I recently received a mega-cool iPad-based logic analyzer from the guys and gals at Oscium. (See: Turn Your iPad Into a Logic Analyzer!)
The folks from Oscium specialize in creating electronic design and verification tools that work with your iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices. Two of their tools that I really like are their Mixed-Signal Oscilloscope and their Logic Analyzer. This started me thinking about other iPad-based tools one might create...
One of the most ubiquitous tools for electronic engineers is the digital multimeter. Of course you can get a "cheap-and-cheerful" version of one of these little rascals from any electronics store for around $20 (in fact, I just saw one on Amazon for only $5.50). So what would be the advantage of creating an iPad-based version? Well, that's where we come in. Maybe we can come up with a specification so compelling that the chaps and chappesses at Oscium simply cannot resist taking it and running with it.
So what sort of capabilities are we talking about? Well, here's an example: A couple of weeks ago, someone suggested the idea of having a multimeter with a special "Microcontroller Mode" for embedded systems designers. The idea was to have the ability to monitor the current being using while the microcontroller is in its "Deep Sleep" mode. Then, when something causes the microcontroller to "Wake Up," for the multimeter to automatically scale up to monitoring the regular current, which could be orders of magnitude greater than the "Deep Sleep" current (typically the operator of a multimeter has to select the desired voltage or current range). It would also be useful if the multimeter could determine the time taken for the microcontroller to "Wake Up" from its "Deep Sleep" mode.
This is just one idea. I'm sure that if we all put our heads together, we can come up with some really clever suggestions. So if you are interested in bouncing a few ideas around, click here to add your ideas to the message board that I've just set up to accompany this project, and click here to join this week's live online chat, which will commence on Thursday, June 21 at 1:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT).