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When An Oscilloscope Is Not An Oscilloscope

Image courtesy of Introspect Technology i3cpurvue.jpeg
Introspect Technology has developed an embedded oscilloscope, called I3C PurVue AnalyzerTM, for the company's SV4E-I3C Test and Debug Module. The tool measures and characterizes sensor and processor interfaces based on the MIPI Alliance I3CSM and I3C Basic Specifications.
Software-based tool measures and characterizes sensor and processor interfaces to perform scope functions without the actual instrument.

Think “oscilloscope” and one thinks of a tabletop instrument with a display showing waveforms and a bunch of probes and wires. Introspect Technology, a Montreal-based supplier of test and measurement solutions, has developed an embedded, protocol-triggered real-time scope that measures and characterizes sensor and processor interfaces based on the MIPI Alliance I3CSM and I3C Basic Specifications.

Called the I3C PurVue Analyzer™, the “oscilloscope” is not intended as a general-purpose scope replacement for traditional instruments from say, Keysight or Tektronix. The embedded software-based tool is an available option for the company’s SV4E-I3C Test and Debug Module, an I3C hardware-based test and debug module. The software enables users of the module to add a complete high-resolution, real-time oscilloscope function that simultaneously samples the protocol analyzer inputs to detect waveform events.

According to Introspect CEO Dr. Mohamed Hafed, the I3C PurVue analyzer is designed for the growing number of IoT applications, including sensor buses, that generate real-time signals that must be instantly captured. “For instance, gesture-controlled sensors in cars produce a lot of data,” said Hafed during an interview with Design News. “These buses used to operate at 100 kHz, now they operate at 100 MHz.”

The analyzer works with the test and debug module to not only capture instantaneous waveforms but also uncover subtle signal integrity issues. It is integrated with the company’s ESP software, leveraging the Python-based libraries to control types of measurements being performed. Because it leverages the internal probing of signals within the test module, the analyzer performs oscilloscope probing without the need for external active probes or benchtop oscilloscopes. Thus, the analyzer enables the user to validate and characterize an I3C-based component or bus without having to tote around a separate oscilloscope.

Captures All Trigger Events

The analyzer is a protocol-triggered oscilloscope, with the I3C protocol analyzer state machine always running in the background. It triggers the internal oscilloscope based on protocol events, allowing even rare trigger events to be detected. Because the test module stores a high volume of analyzed protocol data anyway, there is no limitation due to oscilloscope waveform memory.

The embedded oscilloscope allows measurement over a range of -0.5 V to +3.6 V with a resolution of 12 bits and signal bandwidth of 500 MHz. Memory capacity is 1 Gbyte, enabling the analyzer to store long waveform records. The embedded oscilloscope communicates over the USB 3.0 interface to allow rapid waveform uploads to the Introspect ESP software.

The Introspect Technology I3C PurVue Analyzer™ can be purchased as an upgrade to existing SV4E-I3C test and debug modules, or it can be selected as a purchase option on new SV4E-I3C device purchases.

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News covering the electronics beat. He has many years of experience covering developments in components, semiconductors, subsystems, power, and other facets of electronics from both a business/supply-chain and technology perspective. He can be reached at [email protected]


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