The good people at Pi Supply sent a rather generous swag box to review and I have been busy playing – sorry TESTING the expEYES module from the Phoenix Project in New Delhi the last week or so. The expEYES Junior is described as a ‘Science Learning and Experiment Kit’ which in some ways is selling the module a bit short. Sure at a price tag of £50 it is not cheap , but then the expEYES kit is not an ‘educational toy’ hence the Science and Learning tag. As mentioned I feel the module is somewhat undersold for a few very good reasons. It CAN work as a 4 channel PC oscilloscope; OK maybe not high grade but for a KS3 Science lesson – great value added. The expEYES will work as a waveform generator (SINE) and will also display squarewave readouts on all four channels apart from more traditional measuring and quantifying of analogue inputs. Could I also ask my faithful follower(s) if they have encountered a unit like this that is programmable with Python ? Please leave a comment below if you do – as mentioned this is a very capable little kit.
So what is in the box , I hear you say – well apart from the main module , USB cable and a CD containing software there is a selection of resistors LED’s, capacitors and some pre-cut jumper cables. The inclusion of the screwdriver for the terminals is a nice gesture, this is the only tool you will need for setting up any of the experiments.
It has to be said that this kit is not ‘polished’ in terms of presentation, packaging and finish of components – but it is honest ‘whatyouseeiswhatyouget’. You might have to try a bit harder at undoing some of the terminal screws at first, wire ends are not soldered or capped possibly resulting in frayed ends and sore fingers. I will also suggest that the documentation is made a bit more ‘Junior’ friendly as the tag ‘Junior’ infers – you’re looking at a very gifted young person to go through some of the experiments. That is NOT to say that I suggest dumbing down – merely clarifying assembly diagrams and making the instructions ‘bitesize’ will easily justify the term ‘Junior’.
And this is where i argue the value of £50 to be worth every penny – the thought and skill in devising the experiments are great if not inspirational for any person regardless of age. The breadth of experiments and scope for learning makes this a great companion for a secondary school, easily extended into post-16. As you have guessed already I am evaluating the expEYES from an ‘educators’ point of view – I would NOT hesitate in recommending any parent to invest in this kit for their child’s education. I’ll even go one further and say that anyone finding a fully functional USB oscilloscope with these capabilities for £50 is a wizard or a ‘giant pork pie slinger’.
OK enough ‘teaching & learning’ jabber we’re ready to go; let’s get experimenting and have some fun with expEYES. I’m not going to cover installation of software at this stage – this is merely a 1st brief overview of capability. I have tested the software on Linux Ubuntu and Linux Mint (latest distros) and wait for it . . . drumroll . . . yes . . . RaspberryPi !!
. . . . hands on Linux / Debian testing coming up very soon . . .
User review here.