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OpenScope is a multi-function programmable instrument used for capturing, visualizing, and controlling analog and digital signals.
OpenScope is a multi-function programmable instrument used for capturing, visualizing, and controlling analog and digital signals.
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1,076 backers pledged $107,613 to help bring this project to life.
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OpenScope: Instrumentation for Everyone



What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

Project supporting material callout image

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

Why did we make OpenScope?

Simply put, our mission is to make learning and using electronics accessible to all.

In the path of learning and using electronics, instrumentation is required to view what's really happening at the circuit level. Instead of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on conventional benchtop instruments, we've created a tool powerful enough for most hobby electronics projects and affordable for most beginner budgets. By transforming popular open source platforms into affordable and powerful instrumentation, we are empowering makers, hobbyists, engineers, and new learners to design and debug their most innovative products!

What is OpenScope?

OpenScope is a portable multi-function programmable instrumentation module. What does that mean? It's a device that you connect to your computer (through Wi-Fi or a USB cable) that allows you to acquire, analyze, visualize, and control signals from circuits, sensors, and other electronic devices. Unlike typical USB instruments, OpenScope can also be programmed to run standalone like an Arduino or Raspberry Pi, but with high-speed precision analog and digital I/O.

OpenScope also comes with WaveForms Live, which is a free, open-source, JavaScript-based software that runs in a browser and is inspired by our extremely popular software tool, WaveForms 2015

Using the OpenScope + WaveForms Live, you will be able to configure the OpenScope to be an Oscilloscope, a Function Generator, a Logic Analyzer, a Power Supply, and even a Data Logger. 

We designed OpenScope as a tool that you can use to troubleshoot your projects on the go (e.g. real-time monitoring of a mobile robot or UAV ), monitor long-term (create an IoT device to capture, calculate, and log readings over many hours or days), and gain a deeper understanding of electronics through visualizing what's happening inside of the circuit. 



Walk Around OpenScope
Walk Around OpenScope

Technology Behind OpenScope:

OpenScope is a combination of several important development efforts. It's best to think about OpenScope as a 5 layer dip that comes together in a single, seriously awesome dish! 

At the core of the OpenScope is a powerful Microchip PIC32 MZ Processor. This processor has many resources that we took advantage of to enable the functionalities found on OpenScope.


From an Idea to Kickstarter:  

4 Generations of Hardware Prototypes of OpenScope-- Help Us Make This a Reality!
4 Generations of Hardware Prototypes of OpenScope-- Help Us Make This a Reality!

We began designing the OpenScope about 3 years ago. Initially, we had hoped to make a shield add-on board with an FPGA + high speed data converters. 

Gen 1 of OpenScope: the ScopeShield
Gen 1 of OpenScope: the ScopeShield

With the FPGA , we found we had far more performance than we needed (FPGAs are significantly higher performance than most processors on the market); the addition of a differential analog input circuit would risk pushing the cost above $100. Plus, we didn't want to require the purchase of both the shield and the base board to obtain the results we were aiming for. We also decided we wanted something that was compatible with the Arduino IDE, which lead us to the second version of the board. This design was prototyped with the Wi-FIRE, which featured an on-board PIC32 MZ processor. While working with the Wi-Fire, we realized that the MZ processor was actually fast enough to manage the complex I/O and software stack on its own! 

Rev B of the OpenScope: standalone product with Wi-Fi
Rev B of the OpenScope: standalone product with Wi-Fi

It was in Rev. B and the experience with the PIC32MZ2048EFG100 that we realized we could make a 1MHz MCU-based scope that could easily be compiled with the Arduino IDE while maintaining a compelling feature set. The use of a microcontroller-only solution meant that we would be able to avoid the added complexity of an FPGA and the extra costs from having to add separate ADC chips (this was because the PIC32MZ MCU had 5 dedicated 3.125MHz 12-bit ADCs on it). 

Rev B was designed and laid out to contain several alternate circuits for evaluation. Specifically, it contained an SPI DAC7811 DAC for the waveform generator as well as an R2R ladder as an alternate waveform generator. We put down two MCP6S21SL PGAs for gain control on the analog inputs and we used a 6MHz LM3281 switching regulator for our 3.3V supply. We found that we could do better with the R2R ladder for the function generator, thereby saving cost. 

It was in this version that we were inspired by the Wi-Fi module found on the Wi-Fire and decided to include the module on the OpenScope. With the addition of Wi-Fi, we were able to facilitate remote data logging, allowing users to put the OpenScope in places that cables would be a problem (e.g. robotics chassis). The current development of software allows for this; however, we envisioned a single instructor being able to send data to several different OpenScope units in a classroom setting. This is a functionality we still hope to bring to our software, and backing our project will help us to obtain valuable design resources assigned to that function.

Rev C of the OpenScope: redesigned PCB and the decision to make the product Open Hardware!
Rev C of the OpenScope: redesigned PCB and the decision to make the product Open Hardware!

It was with Rev C. of the OpenScope that we finalized the look and feel of the PCB. We selected purple to showcase the OpenScope's open-source hardware, carved the edges out for easier attachment (places for zip ties and fingers), and began designing a 3D printable case to go with the PCB. 

In Rev C, we noticed that we had some noise issues. After troubleshooting the noise, we found that it was coming from the 6MHz switching regulator and cross-coupling noise from routing unfiltered PWM offset signals that was laid out too close to our analog circuits. This required a PCB revision.

Rev D of the OpenScope: fixed power supplies for clean signals!
Rev D of the OpenScope: fixed power supplies for clean signals!

Rev D contained the linear regulator and rigorous filtering of all PWM and reference circuits. Also, strong separation of the analog circuits from the digital circuits on the PCB layout reduced the noise into the analog signals. Rev D showed promising results as the noise had dropped below our design goals, prompting us to begin firmware development.

The first firmware written was to calibrate the instrument; however, we found that we could not calibrate for negative signals. Upon further investigation, we discovered that an unselected channel to the MUX could go negative, causing the MUX to conduct on the non-selected channels and not act as an ideal analog switch. This was an embarrassing oversight, but was easily corrected by putting the MUX in the feedback loop of the op-amp instead of the input to the op-amp. As a result of this fix, we noticed a substantial performance gain from a flat signal response of just over 1MHz to nearly 3MHz. Rev D was hand-modified to switch the location of the MUX.

Rev E and F of the OpenScope: this will be close to the final version of the OpenScope
Rev E and F of the OpenScope: this will be close to the final version of the OpenScope

Rev E was our first truly functioning hardware, and was used for most of the firmware and WaveForms Live software development. The only things left for us to complete were some fine-tuning of resistors and capacitors, as well as altering the silkscreen to support the final logos.

Rev F is the final hardware, and what we think we will be shipping you! The PCB layout did not change from the Rev E, but the silkscreen and passive component values were fine-tuned for the production board.  

WaveForms Live:

For an instrument like the OpenScope, software is going to be a crucial part of the user experience. 

OpenScope was designed to be run by a software program served inside of a web browser. This means that any computer with internet access and a browser can serve the software needed to run your OpenScope. If you are without an internet connection, you can download the native application to your computer or add an extra SD card to your OpenScope and use the application through the OpenScope. 

Device manager
Device manager



WaveForms Live will allow users to simulate a device for testing, be touch-friendly, be able to export data, do firmware updates, handle device management, provide a GUI for hardware control, and be the place to visualize the signals. With the firmware on the OpenScope, WaveForms Live will auto-adjust the sliders and ranges to the capabilities of the attached hardware.


Connecting to the OpenScope over Wi-Fi
Connecting to the OpenScope over Wi-Fi


Demo Mode: Wavegen tied to the Oscilloscope
Demo Mode: Wavegen tied to the Oscilloscope


Math-enabled functions
Math-enabled functions


Zoom, Trigger, Cursors, and Offsets
Zoom, Trigger, Cursors, and Offsets



To date, the following capabilities will be enabled in WaveForms Live: 

  • Oscilloscope: Run, Set Vertical/Horizontal Offset
  • Cursors: Time, Voltage, Track (Time/Voltage)
  • Triggers: Configurable trigger source, Rising/Falling, Dual threshold
  • Logic Analyzer: Set Vertical/Horizontal Offset
  • Waveform Generator: Sin/Square/Triangle/Sawtooth, DC adjust, Frequency, Amplitude, DC Offset and Duty Cycle, GPIO Direction (in and out) - High and Low
  • Signal Math (auto calculated values): Frequency, Period, Amplitude, Peak to Peak, Max Min Mean

You can preview the software project by visiting

WaveForms Live SDK:

The intention behind designing WaveForms Live was to make it available for modification. We will be providing a programmer's guide as well as making the following available on GitHub. 

  • Firmware running on the PIC32MZ
  • Agent Source Code
  • Browser App/Android/ IOS
  • Communication Protocol
  • JavaScript API

OpenScope Case - Mechanical Engineering:

To keep costs down, OpenScope will come without a case like many hobbyist-oriented boards. The module will include little rubber ball feet so that the PCB is raised above the dedicated surface space. 

However, some people don't like having a naked PCB exposed to the elements, so we designed a 3D printable case to protect the OpenScope. 

Rendering of the OpenScope Case, designed to be completely 3D printable.
Rendering of the OpenScope Case, designed to be completely 3D printable.

This case was designed to be printed on most hobby 3D printers. Users can either print their own or go to one of the popular 3D printing services available on the market. The case can be snapped together and provides protection to the PCB without hindering access to all of the features of the OpenScope (this includes buttons, seeing the RGB LEDs, and even 3D printed standoffs). 

Why Open Source?

We wanted to create OpenScope to enable everyone to learn electronics. This means that we need to invite as many people as possible to contribute ideas and collaborate with others in order to accomplish our mission on accessibility. OpenScope is designed to be as open-sourced as possible; therefore, the hardware, firmware, software, and the mechanical specifications will be made available to anyone who wants to change and/or improve upon the design. 

T-shirt Design: 




If we hit $75,000 ... <<HIT!>>

  • Bode Plot: We'd like to add a Bode Plot function into Waveforms Live. If you haven't calculated a Bode Plot by hand, you may not really appreciate this, but trust us... it's a nice thing to have. Bode plots help you understand frequency response and are usually instrumental in understanding the efficiency of your motor, or some of the dynamics of your controls system. 
  • Mini Grabbers: We will include the Mini-Grabbers with every single OpenScope PCB. These were originally reserved for the classroom packs (because they make connections to your circuits much more stable), but we feel that everyone could use a set!

If we hit $100,000... 

  • Improved Data Logger: In the original plan for WaveForms Live the data logger would use the oscilloscope channels to sample very slowly (as slow as 1 sample per second) and return the data to the browser. With this stretch goal, we will invest in the additional software time to add the ability to log data directly to the SD card on the OpenScope. Using WaveForms Live, you will be able to turn the logging on and off and set the sample rate arbitrarily (versus the fixed 1 sample per second). We will also make it possible retrieve the logged data through the browser or directly off of the SD card. 
  • OpenScope Accessory Pack: We will include an extended OpenScope Accessory Pack, which will include a project box, mini grabbers, a micro USB Cable and a SD Card.  
OpenScope with the stretch goal accessory pack!
OpenScope with the stretch goal accessory pack!


Risks and challenges

We consider OpenScope to be low-risk. We've done the most difficult part of the project and just need a few additional tweaks to the software to get it out there! There are risks to change the aggressive production schedule if there is any feedback received that will require a hardware change.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Funding period

- (30 days)

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