Cool USB devices

kaplandj • September 9, 2007

Software Business Software Design Synthetic Instruments

I’ve been playing around with some interesting devices from Sparkfun ( lately. They offer a number of Components and USB devices. Sensors galore and many wireless interfaces.

I have emailed back and forth with one of the owners, Nathan Seidle. He sounds like a very smart guy and really knows his stuff. Their business model is offering open source hardware. Or hardware that is easy to use for prototyping. Is this the hardware version of open source software? Seems like many OS vendors are only making money by selling hardware.

Anyway, I’m working one of their boards into our Synthetic Instrument system. Short of not having our own hardware (not happening anytime soon) Sparkfun offers an array of codecs for the system. Granted these are not suited for most heavy duty T+M (Test and Measurement) applications – but I’m no longer thinking of this software as viable for SI. RF engineers don’t want to give up their old gear. One day they will – but one can’t wait on a stagnate market. So what is this SI software good for? I ask myself….

No customers  of a new exciting market want to hear the technical details of a new type of measurement system. But there is an opportunity in offering ways to measure and relate analog data in a Web 2.0 world. Nothing like this really exists like this now. We have an infrastructure that can realize a new frontier.

And Sparkfun is fun. Nice work Nathan. Rocky Mountain high…