UK scope maker Pico Technology celebrates 30th anniversary

The company designs and makes oscilloscopes, data loggers, RF equipment and automotive diagnostics products in Cambridgeshire, and has offices in the USA, China, Japan and Germany.

In 1991, according to the company: Intel introduced the $258 486SX microprocessor – to be found on PCs running MS-DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.0, Tim Berners-Lee at CERN started the World Wide Web Consortium, the GSM mobile network was launched in Europe, and Alan Tong and Mike Green founded Pico Technology.

Operating from an office in Hardwick near Cambridge, its first product was the ADC-10 – a 10ksample/s ADC that connected to a PC parallel port. The first order for ADC-10s was received in August, with two units sold for £49 ($68) each. “The ADC-10 was the world’s first PC oscilloscope,” it claims, “and in the years that followed Pico notched up several more industry firsts, including the first oscilloscope with digital triggering and the first high-resolution oscilloscope.”

“To begin with, our aim was to make test equipment affordable for many hobbyists and small companies that couldn’t afford traditional benchtop equipment,” said CEO and owner Tong. “As things have progressed, we still look after hobbyists, but our products have evolved to compete with the higher-performance test equipment that is used in mainstream electronics design, as well as in some research institutions. We now supply over 30 vehicle manufacturers worldwide. We still take advantage of the latest computing and communications standards, and provide all-inclusive packages that don’t require users to purchase additional options or licences.”

“I am very proud of Pico and how we have worked hard. The company culture at Pico is key to our success,” continued Tong. “Pico users are very loyal and have become strong advocates for our products amongst their colleagues.”

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