Roadmap

At our core, we are an engineering company and we love development! Nothing is ever done with engineering, there are always new features to add, new products to develop, new software tools to build, and small bugs to fix. This article provides a general overview of the direction we are heading with some planned future development projects. Two large caveats though on these tentative plans:

  • Priorities change - As time progresses various new opportunities are presented by internal stakeholders, customers, and government-funded projects.  These can shift our priorities and limited resources around to accommodate these changing needs.
  • Development estimates change - As developments advance the technical team can discover unforeseen obstacles that significantly delay the development, even ending it.  The reverse is also true, and sometimes developments are "easier" than originally anticipated accelerating the development plans.

To summarize, these plans are tentative and subject to change. But hopefully, they help give you a sense of our general direction and plans!  And most importantly, hopefully, these plans spur your thinking on features or products you would like to see.  We would love to hear your feedback to alter our plans to better meet our customers' needs!

In this Article


Graphical Roadmap

The following graphic is a snapshot of our development path and priority order.  There aren't dates on this timeline for good reason, because things change.  But we do hope to accomplish this over the next 12 to 18 months.  Another point is that this roadmap is more of a "release" schedule and not a development Gantt chart, many of these developments are ongoing in parallel.  A dynamic version of this product roadmap is available with  this link that includes more context.


Product Development

In addition to the following product development projects, we are always looking for "smaller" firmware features to develop and release. We'd to love to hear from you any ideas you have, and also encourage you to  post in our forum.

Slam Stick w/ Larger Battery

The current enclosure design of the Slam Stick does not allow for use in, particularly harsh environments (outdoor applications). The current battery chemistry also does not perform well in cold environments making some aerospace applications unaddressable even though the core electronics can survive down to -40C. The battery size is also optimized for single day use and there is an increasing need for longer "missions" that last on the order of weeks, even months.

We have begun developing a new recorder that will utilize the Saft MP 174565 xtd battery. This battery has a 4,000 mAh capacity and a much more stable low-temperature performance than the existing batteries. The datasheet of this battery is available here.

For more information on this development and to comment or vote for it, visit the  post in our community forum.

Waterproof Accessory

The current waterproof accessory design, although robust, is quite large. A development that results in a polycarbonate mold for the top and a simple aluminum base and an o-ring can accomplish the same sealing ability with less mass and size. The development can also be utilized to include magnetic mounting accessories and a strain-relief for the USB cable when plugged in (this wouldn't allow for the polycarbonate top when in use).

For more information on this development and to comment or vote for it, visit the post in our community forum.

Internal Electronics Upgrade

Much of the base electronics in the product line were developed and selected in 2012-2014. Since that time there have been some minor updates and improvements with the electronics, but the primary development focus has been on firmware and software. Over the last 5+ years upgraded processors have become available that can enable some improvements regarding storage size, reliability and transfer speed. There have also been new sensors which have become available and could be better utilized with an updated processor.  Most importantly, this development offers a lot of strategic value for us to develop more advanced firmware features in the future due to the processor's increased memory and other characteristics.

For more information on this development and to comment or vote for it, visit the  post in our community forum.

External Analog Channel Input

Many of our recorders include a sensor that has an analog output that we are sampling at 20 kHz in each sub-channel.  The processor and A/D converter we are using have 5 more channels that we aren't using, we'd like to extend a channel out of the enclosure for external sensors.  We have done this customization for occasional customers but there are a few issues:

  • No filtering or electrical protection
  • Software treats the extra channel as "acceleration"

Following the hardware update, a more formal extra analog channel option can be enabled that will include filtering and electrical protection.  The software will also need to be developed to treat the extra channel as a separate channel to acceleration.

For more information on this development and to comment or vote for it, visit the  post in our community forum.

Event-Based Firmware

The current recorders have triggering to record events but they record all the data continuously.  Some applications just need to know that there was an event and some details of the event, not all the raw data.  This is especially true in many shipment tracking applications.  Firmware development is needed to do some onboard processing to save event summary information such as RMS vibration, max/min, temperature etc.  This development can extend battery life, reduce storage and post-processing needs and will become especially useful once we have wireless communication.

For more information on this development and to comment or vote for it, visit the  post in our community forum.

Smaller and Lower-Cost Recorder

The current recorders have largely been developed to support the higher-end sensors we use that have analog outputs and larger physical sizes.  Not every application requires these sensors, however, so we are planning a development of a recorder that uses the smaller and lower cost sensors that will be a more direct competitor to the  MSR175. There will ideally be two versions that come out of this development, both small, but different sensor and feature packages.  One will have a tentative price point of $600 at quantity 1, the other $1,000.  Like the other products, they will have volume discounts.

For more information on this development and to comment or vote for it, visit the post in our community forum.

External Sensor Input Product Line

We have targeted a higher-end market of test engineers that tend to have a better understanding of sensing applications compared to other data logger products. Our embedded sensors are very good relative to those products but they still fail to compete with other applications which require even better resolution, sensitivity, lower noise, smaller mechanical form factor etc. With our lack of time synchronization there is also little chance of users to do modal testing but if we enabled 2 to 4 inputs that are sampled at the same time we would be able to address that market.

There are also some applications that require a very small sensor to provide minimal impact to the environment, but they still need portability and ease of use. The most attractive feature of this development would be that we would be able to target other sensing types without doing custom developments each time. The external inputs would allow users to customize for their needs.

For more information on this development and to comment or vote for it, visit the  post in our community forum.

Wireless Recorder

The product will in many ways offer all the USB level communication but via a wireless interface. This will allow users to access recorders in hard to reach places to download data, change configurations, and start new recordings.

This will also enable a local computer/software to perform a monitoring sequence where the local computer starts a recording, wait for the recorder to reappear, download the data off the device, and then start the next recording. If/when a  cloud portal is developed this same local computer/software can include in the sequence an upload to the portal for cataloging and worldwide access.

A nice-to-have feature of this development is that there will no longer be any ports to allow for IP68 enclosure.  This will require wireless charging.

For more information on this development and to comment or vote for it, visit the post in our community forum.


Software Development

In addition to the following product development projects, we are always looking for "smaller" software features to develop and release. We'd to love to hear from you any ideas you have, and also encourage you to post in our forum.

Lab 1.9 Release

The Lab Software 1.9 release will include a variety of small improvements.  The major ones are as follows:

  • Start a recording from the software when a device is plugged in 
  • Enable configuration import/export

Analyzer 1.1 Release

The MATLAB-based Analyzer software can have some additional analysis capabilities such as:

  • Integration and double integration
  • Moving metrics (RMS, max, min, mean)
  • Find peaks routine in time and frequency domain
  • Smoothing function for cleaner plots
  • More control on frequency analysis (windowing, phase response etc.)

For more information on this development and to comment or vote for it, visit the post in our community forum.

Open Source Parsing Library

Many test applications are not the same from a measurement standpoint as well as an analysis perspective. Developers and analysts alike need the ability to directly interface with recording files without going through a GUI to develop custom applications and analysis scripts. Many analysts and users, although technically competent and good data analysts are not well-versed programmers. However, they are adept at writing analysis scripts. They will need some assistance in accessing these libraries and getting started on their computer.

This development will start by publishing these libraries and then include Python scripting abilities within the Lab software.

For more information on this development and to comment or vote for it, visit the post in our community forum.

Software Support for Multiple Files

Many users are utilizing triggering to record many different events and/or are using multiple devices.  Right now all of our software is written for analyzing a single file at a time, but many customers now finish a test with hundreds, even thousands of recording files - or a very large file that can be cumbersome to analyze (and could be broken into smaller files).  A set of example Python scripts which loop through a large number of recording files and then generates a database or table that is indexed by timestamp and recorder serial number is needed.  In this table, some sensor information can be included with simple analysis such as max, min, mean, RMS levels, even frequency peaks.  If the code is open, users could develop their own custom metrics they'd like to classify files based upon.

Then a GUI will be needed to assist with this characterization, but more importantly, display it.  This display should include a snapshot of the mission with some simple plots, maybe a table of the "worst" 10 events and the ability for the user to then pull up individual files/events as needed.  This display should ideally be in a format for easy export to include in user internal reports they may be generating.

For more information on this development and to comment or vote for it, visit the post in our community forum.

Event-Based Software Summary

This software capability will result in a similar display as above when summarizing many recording files, but be for when the device does the onboard processing and summarizing. 

Cloud Portal for File Storage and Cataloging

Users are beginning to perform tests over long periods of time with multiple devices that generate hundreds, even thousands of recording files. It can be very time consuming to find particular recording files of interest and also understand how the environment has changed from test to test without directly opening the file.

As the product line begins to evolve towards a wireless product offering, it will become important to provide a centralized file storage system that can be accessed by devices and by customers globally (who may not be in the same location).

Testing and analysis is often a collaborative process where the engineer performing the analysis is doing so on a team and has an end customer who also wants to occasionally access data files. To promote collaboration between internal and external stakeholders this portal should also be very "shareable" so that a link/key can be provided to others to enable sharing of data.

Most importantly, the files themselves need to be "described" with details about the device and sensors used to generate the data and even summary metrics themselves. In the short term this information can be useful to users looking to find the points of interest in a test; but in the long run this same infrastructure can be used in monitoring applications to show in semi-real time how important metrics are changing over time.

For more information on this development and to comment or vote for it, visit the  post in our community forum.


Longer Term Plans

We will look to expand deeper into a condition based maintenance type of application where semi-real time data is needed.  We want our products and software to be customizable to meet the variety of applications out there and to also allow specialists to leverage the technology to meet their specific needs.  In this instance they could then sell on a customized system and/or analysis features for their specific machine type or application for example.

We also want to expand more into the vibration meter world which has users performing go/no-go tests in real time.  Our recorders have the ability to record and transmit the data of interest; but we need software tools to characterize the data into actionable information and display it.  This could be in the form of Android and Apple apps that provide a clean and simplified summary to technicians in the field.

Overall we are committed to continually engineering and improving how data acquisition testing and analsysis is performed.  We are on a mission to help you understand how the world moves!