Competition could put Springs, oscilloscope device, in technological limelight

Technology startup Oscium, which has ties to Colorado Springs, is grabbing national attention and being hailed as a company with a product that could change the world of electronics.

And now the company is engaged in a national voting competition that pits it against billion-dollar tech companies for the biggest bragging rights in tech world.

Oscium is the maker of a mixed signal oscilloscope for use on an iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The company, headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla. with an office in the Springs, officially launched its product in May 2011.

No more heavy test and measurement equipment, no more dials and knobs. The Oscium oscilloscope, a small device the size of a matchbook, plugs into the iPad and iPhone, taking full advantage of touch screen technology.

“It’s really exciting, it’s really fun,” said Bryan Lee, Oscium president who works from a Colorado Springs office. “One thing that does make us different — we don’t have to build an LCD touch screen platform, it’s already there.”

The device is so cutting edge that it has been named a finalist in the 2012 UBM Electronics ACE Awards in the test and measurement category along side technology giants as Tektronix and National Instruments – both billion-dollar companies.

The ACE Awards highlights the hottest new products, start-up companies, design teams and executives. Voting is open to the public through Friday, Feb. 24, and winners will be announced in March.

“In the industry of oscilloscopes, a lot of manufacturers charge per diagonal inch of screen size. So in order to get a larger resolution on your screen, you have to pay a lot more money,” Lee said. “We are able to offer that screen resolution at no cost. If you own an iPad, it’s free. That was pretty significant for us.”

Engineers use oscilloscopes to test circuit designs, to debug and figure out what is wrong with the design. In recent years, test and measurement equipment innovation has focused on the speed of the device. But, not much was new in the way of making the oscilloscope smaller and more agile, Lee said.

And no one seemed to be developing devices that could be plugged into an iPhone or iPad, making that iPad a whole new device.

“A lot of the things that have happened within smart phones and tablets are software – there are tons of apps,” Lee said. “There is very little innovation in what is happening here, someone called (the Oscium oscilloscope) an app-cessory.”

In January, Oscium was recognized with a Design Vision Award. In the two previous years, the award went to a company with a 30 gigahertz, then a 45 gigahertz scope. Oscium won for its five megahertz scope, illustrating the quick progression and innovation happening in the industry, Lee said.

“For us, to come in and win at five megahertz is noteworthy,” Lee said. “It flips everything on its head — we are focusing on use, on portability, on convergence of technology.”

Lee formed the company in January 2010 with his brother Matt Lee, who is the developer of the product and works from their Oklahoma City, Okla. office. Bryan is the business side of the company and works with an executive team from a Colorado Springs office.

“My brother does the development and the engineering,” Lee said. “He and I are extremely different — he is really good on the technical side, he’s a heads-down engineer. I love the business side of what we are doing; it makes us a really good team.”

The brothers have six engineers on their team, including mechanical, electrical and software engineers.

At first, the target market for their product was the hobbyist – those engineers who tinker and build equipment in their garages. But, their market has seen fast growth among field application engineers, who seem to love the idea of putting their oscilloscope equipment in their pocket without fear of dropping it when they travel from site to site, Lee said.

“That little box is all they need,” Lee said. “The value that we can bring is being nimble, being small, being willing to disrupt the status quo, we are able to bring a whole new line of thinking.”

Bob Todd, co-founder at Bit Weld and Build Value Now, said Oscium could become one of the best Colorado Springs entrepreneurial startups in recent history. The company is a classic bootstrap startup with no outside investments.

Oscium, Todd said, is an example of technology, value added service, social media and young professionals rolled into one.

“They rapidly prototyped and rapidly went production,” Todd said. “This product emerged out through social media and it’s become viral.”

Oscium has four products now, which range in price from $100 to $300, and more products in development, Lee said.

“I’m real fortunate to have a pretty extraordinary team of developers and forward thinkers,” Lee said. “…changing the world of electronics and participating in something that is cutting edge, has to be able to continue to innovate. It’s important to us to stay on the cutting edge.”

The 2012 UBM Electronics ACE Awards is open to public vote. The deadline is Feb. 24. Go to,