“Labrador makes it easy to understand electronics – the software is responsive and user-friendly and transforms engineering tools into affordable and smart solutions.”
Chris Esposito, a recent electrical engineering graduate from the Monash University, announces his latest invention, EspoTek Labrador, a device that can transform a personal computer into a feature-packed electronics lab. With splendid features, such as oscilloscope channel, multimeter, logic analyzer, power supply and arbitrary waveform generator, Labrador just weighs 10 grams, is 31mm x 38mm in size and costs only $25.From a final year University project to commercial market, Labrador has come a long way. For the beginners, its hardware, software and design are viewable online.Enginneers Garage recently spoke to the Chris about his product.
What motivated you to create a compact and affordable product like Labrador?
I always wanted to democratize technology. I used to ponder day and night about creating something interesting and impressive for my final-year project, but at the same time, I also wanted to create something that was affordable for everyone. From a high school student to an unpaid intern, I wanted everyone to benefit from my creation. After scrapping countless designs, multiple revisions, and innumerable days of hard-work, I finally crafted Labrador that has everything it takes to deliver high performance while cutting down costs. From Oscilloscope (2 channel, 750ksps), Power Supply (4.5 to 15V, 1.5W max, closed-loop), Multimeter (V/I/R/C), Logic Analyzer with serial decoding and Arbitrary Waveform Generator (1MSPS), Labrador is integrated with all the amazing features at a purchase price of just $25.What more could I ask for from my very first commercial invention !
What is that key feature that makes Labrador extraordinary?
Apart from being the cheapest and smallest device, one key element that makes Labrador stand tall is its software. The powerful yet user-friendly software gives it an edge over other costly creations. Its single interface is controllable from a single window with mouse clicks. So basically you do not need a number of buttons and dials. With Labrador you can conveniently scroll-in or scroll-out, regulate the waveformand look into entire data. Labrador is more like audio editing software. It is intuitive and interactive and does not need any manual intervention which makes iteasy-to-use, especially for the new users.
What is the target audience for Labrador?
At a meagre price of $25, Labrador is a steal for students and hobbyists who do not have proper lab equipment at home. Labrador is incorporated with instruments that professional engineers use every day. So students can work on their projects from anywhere, be it a bus, dorm room and even in the cafeteria. Its weight is also a plus point as it’s easy to carry and offers a perfect open-source platform to those who wish to gain experience.
What made you name the product Labrador?
Initially, I had named the projectTinyLab, but when I went to book the final name,I got to know that just a month ago a product with a similar name had been registered. I was left with no other choice but to change the name of my creation. While I was working on the project, I found that this product is completely loyal, responsive and quick, just like a pet dog. That made me give it a name that stands for loyalty and hence I locked the name Labrador.
What are your future plans for such a spectacular invention?
Truly speaking, I have still not decided. I have just graduated and had never thought that my project will be such a massive hit in the global market. I love doing things that are exciting and lively. Definitely, EspoTek means a lot to me, but this is not what I plan to do throughout my life. There are possibilities that I may keep EspoTek as a side project so that I can enjoy working on it over weekends or whenever I have time. That’s the only way to keep my interest alive in this project.
When do you plan to schedule the first shipment of Labrador?
While the final shipment of Labrador is almost ready, there are still a couple of elements that need to be addressed and polished. The Crowd Funding Campaign is already on air, and the final shipment has been scheduled for early December. At the moment, I have a neat version of the tool running seamlessly on Windows without causing any crashes. Almost everything is complete but still I need to test the product to ensure that the outcome is absolutely trouble-free and user-friendly for customers. With these things in place, I surely expect to ship the product by the end of the year.
What major challenges did you experienced while creating Labrador?
I can provide you with a whole list of challenges! Using cheap components to present complex things in a simple manner is definitely the biggest challenge. For example, the Analog function is prepared with nothing more than six resistances. The structure might seem simple, but it comprises all the exercises that are perfectly displayed on the screen.
How about your personal experience with Labrador?
Personally I have been using Labrador for over a year now. Right from testing to carrying out new projects, I have been using it for everything. It seems simply great to me !
Are there any probabilities of us witnessing modifications or developments in the same product?
Well yes, I am already planning to develop a second version. Honestly, it will probably take more than a year for its release as I am also planning to put together other things. There would be developments in terms of software support. After the release, I expect the new version to fully support the software. There are a few limitations that I would attempt to combat in my next version of Labrador.