Desktop application for the Pocket Science Lab (PSlab) open hardware platform.
This repository holds the PSLab Desktop application. It is using ElectronJS running React on top as UI renderer and uses Python scripts under the hood for device communication. The goal of PSLab is to create an Open Source hardware device (open on all layers) and software applications that can be used for experiments by teachers, students and scientists. Our tiny pocket lab provides an array of instruments for doing science and engineering experiments. It provides functions of numerous measurement tools including an oscilloscope, a waveform generator, a frequency counter, a programmable voltage, current source and even a component to control robots with up to four servos. Our website is at PSLab.io. See also the screenshots and demos.
Please join us on the following channels:
Downloads and Distribution
We are providing binary packages. Please see the releases page for downloads.
As this app uses the PSL library under the hood for device communication, you need to have it installed as well. Instructions are provided in the pslab-python repository.
As of now, you need to have the latest version installed.
If you are running Arch Linux or another distribution based on it, install
Other Linux distributions
There are packages in
.deb format (Debian, Ubuntu and derivatives),
(Fedora, openSUSE etc), and
There are installers as
.exe executables, based on NSIS.
If you are using Chocolatey, you can install the app via:
choco install pslab-desktop
The package is available at https://community.chocolatey.org/packages/pslab-desktop and currently maintained at https://github.com/tunisiano187/Chocolatey-packages.
.dmg image files and
PSLab-*.dmg file, drag and drop the
PSLab icon to the
directory within the installation window, and PSLab will appear in your
Features and Implementation Status
|Home Screen||Show status and version of PSLab device|
|Instruments||Exposes PSLab instruments like Oscilloscope, etc|
|Oscilloscope||Shows variation of analog signals|
|Multimeter||Measures voltage, current, resistance and capacitance|
|Logical Analyzer||Captures and displays signals from digital system|
|Wave Generator||Generates arbitrary analog and digital waveforms|
|Power Source||Generates programmable voltage and currents|
|Lux Meter||Measures the ambient light intensity|
|Barometer||Measures the Pressure|
|Accelerometer||Measures the acceleration of the device|
|Gyrometer||Measures the rate of rotation|
|Compass||Measures the absolute rotation relative to earth magnetic poles|
|Thermometer||Measures the ambient temperature|
|Gas Sensor||Detects gases, including NH3, NOx, alcohol, benzene, smoke and CO2|
|Robotic Arm Controller||Allows to control 4 servo motors of the robotic arm independently|
The goal of the project is to provide a fully functional science application that works with PSLab and other open scientific hardware. Furthermore the application should be fully compatible and feature matching to the PSLab Android app. Current status of the development:
- Implement all major instruments
- Have an effective build system for linux and windows
- Have a basic data logging feature in place
- [/] Implement interface for I2C sensors
- Implement more minor instruments
- Lux meter
- Gas meter
- pH meter
- Make data logging and playback more robust
- Code refactoring and architecture improvement
How to Contribute
- The development branch is the standard branch of the project. Pull requests are merged to this branch and tests run through Travis CI.
- The master branch is currently not maintained and held the stable releases of the project and merged the development branch regularly after it was tested thouroughly.
- The install branch is outdated and holds autogenerated install images for some Linux distributions and Windows. It was generated through Travis CI on merged pull requests in the development and master branches.
- The gh-pages is currently outdated, but is intended to hold information of the project from the Readme.md and /docs folder.
Setting up a Development Environment
- Fork the project to get a copy of the repository in your GitHub profile.
- Clone the forked project from your profile (not from FOSSASIA):
git clone firstname.lastname@example.org:your-profile/pslab-desktop
- Change into the project folder:
- Add the original FOSSASIA repository as a remote:
git remote add upstream https://github.com/fossasia/pslab-desktop.git
Prerequisites and Dependencies
Please note: If you are in China, you need to configure a mirror for npm. In short, add the following
~/.npmrc file (create it if it doesn't yet exist):
registry = http://registry.npm.taobao.org/
While in your project folder, run
This will install all the necessary dependencies required by the app to run.
Using a virtual enviroment
To isolate the Python dependencies, it is recommended to use a virtual enviroment for development. To create a virtual enviroment, run the following command while in your project repository:
python3 -m venv venv
Now activate the virtual enviroment in your current shell session:
# For bash/zsh users: source ./venv/bin/activate # For Windows cmd.exe users: .\venv\Scripts\activate.bat
(If you use a different shell, check the Python venv docs for the full list.)
Within your virtual enviroment, now install the Python library:
python3 -m pip install pslab
With the virtual enviroment activated, the app will run using the libraries installed in the virtual enviroment, and not the global Python location.
To deactivate the virtual enviroment, run:
If you are also working on the Python library, set PYTHON_PATH to point to its directory in order to have your local version available to the desktop app.
Starting the app
All commands to start and debug the app are outlined in the
To simply get it running run the following command while in your project
repository and the virtual enviroment is active.
And wait for Electron to open.
IPC and Stack
The stack comprises multiple pieces:
- pslab-hardware, offering phyiscal ports
- pslab-firmware, running on the PIC MCU
- pslab-python, a Python library that communicates with the MCU via USB serial
- the bridge here in
scripts/, which talks to the Python library
- the Electron app itself, which offers the GUI and communicates with the bridge via stdin/stdout
Electron builds on top of Node.js and Chromium. The UI is running in its own
rendering process, requiring IPC in order to communicate with the main process.
public/electron.js for the entry point in this project.
To communicate with the Python bridge, there are extra Electron processes that
spawn Python processes. See
Any action from the UI thus requires the following:
- an appropriate handler to pick up the action from the UI element
- a function invoking the corresponding IPC method
- an Electron-side IPC method definition (
- a Python-side IPC method definition (
Building the App
First you need to follow the instructions to set up a development environment.
While in the project root, run the build scripts as defined in
npm run build npm run build:electron
For a platform-specific build, run the following instead, where
be any of
npm run build npm run build:electron -- --$PLATFORM
If you do not want to create an archive or package:
npm run build npm run pack
This will produce two directories in the project root. The
directory contains the optimized React files, while the
contains the final Electron build with everything else.
This project is Free and Open Source software. The project is licensed under the GPL v3. Copyright is owned by FOSSASIA. More details in the license files.
The project is maintained by