Signal generators are a handy thing to have around the lab. They are perfect for testing inputs on a new hardware design and verifying the behavior of a circuit before connecting all the pieces together. In recent years these lab tools have not only decreased in size but also in cost. The result has been a plethora of portable versions that now exist on the market.
For an engineer-on-the-go, this is very convenient but often times having to bring one more piece of equipment always seems to put the tool bag over the 50 pound limit. This is one reason why it is becoming popular to design lab equipment that can be plugged into a smart phone. Rather than carry around another device with a computer in it, utilizing the computing power and capabilities of the phone allows the device to be smaller, cheaper and weigh less!
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