PocketLab: a $100 scientific "Swiss Army knife"


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Or … just buy a Texas Instruments sensortag for $29, and save your money.


Did you watch the video? You are comparing apples and oranges.

The synchronized live video coupled with live graphing of sensor data looks fantastic for learning. Most people wouldn’t be able to program that.


Have absolutely no need for one.

Want one anyway.


The pocketlab contains a TI sensortag:



Seems overpriced for the sensors included. With the exception of force, those are sensors built in to phones already - and you can buy a full-on smartphone for $100.


That’s the software side, and while it seems useful, you’re paying most of the $ for that. Given the target audience of boing boing, I think there are a few readers who just need the hardware, and can roll their own software. So, I pointed out the original reference design.
Which, by the way, has a number of open source projects available, as well as a free graphing app or two for iOS.

In addition, the website claims again and again that equivalent hardware cost far more, which just isn’t true. It’s cheaper. They’d be better off making their software generic to interface with any one of a number of different ble 4 devices, and sell that on a subscription basis (since they have a “cloud”, they may be doing this already).
Nobody does that yet.


Came here hoping for mass spectroscopy, or at least IR. Was severely disappointed. Accelerometers are cheap. As are pressure sensors.


Okay, nice thing, but why do you need a tablet or a smartphone to operate it ?
Aren’t Portable PC able to do that kind of things ? I see more and more products and software which only exist and work with tablet and smartphone for no really good reason (?).


You are confusing bill of materials and the actual cost of a product.


Pretty. A good part can be done with a spare smartphone, cracked screen allowed. Needs more sensors and lower cost.

Thought. Could the magnetic field sensor placed at the power socket or cable be used for e.g. checking if a coffee maker stopped, or the vibration sensor placed on a washing machine signal when the laundry is done? What about an acoustic sensor, doing some sort of sound fingerprinting and either streaming the sound or (better) providing “cooked” data (spectrum snapshots)…? With the cheap low-power bluetooth or the nRF24L01 class chips and the low cost of sensor chips (not all of which have to be populated on the board) it could be a pretty powerful set of make-dumb-smart nodes, just attach with a doublesided tape.


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