GW Instruments was founded in 1984 by Glenn Weinreb, who foresaw the revolutionary changes brought to laboratory computing by the
personal computer. Between 1984 and 1986, the company was actually run from a dormitory room at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The formation of the company was an outgrowth of products (logarithmic amplifiers and Apple II I/O products) developed and sold by Glenn
between 1976 and 1984, as a youth with Electrical Engineer aspirations. Today, Desktop Engineering is a reality -- the personal computer presence
in the laboratory is growing, and GW Instruments is well established as a leader in providing data acquisition hardware and software. In January 1987 the
company was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 1988, the company successfully raised its first outside equity through the sale of
securities to a venture capital firm.
In October 1987, the Company published a data acquisition product catalog and a brochure on sound analysis products. By late 1988, the product family had
expanded significantly warranting a 56 page catalog. Today, the company markets many different products to domestic and international customers in 20
countries. The line of Macintosh and Windows based products covers the full data acquisition and analysis needs of Scientists and Engineers in Research
and Development, Industrial Control and Automation, and Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) markets.
As GWI evolved, particularly during 1988-1992, the focus of the company gradually shifted from hardware to software, culminating with the 1992
introduction of SuperScope II, a software product that allows users to display, calculate, store, and present technical and scientific information
quickly, efficiently and effectively. SuperScope II has been well received by the marketplace it serves.
In 1993, GWI introduced SoundScope, a software product dedicated to analyzing speech and sound waveforms. SoundScope quickly became a
standard among speech scientists, pathologists, and researchers.
In 1996, GWI introduced instruNet i200 PCI Card and i100, which represented a new approach to doing data acquisition hardware that is significantly
more accurate than traditional data acquisition boards. The reason instruNet is more accurate is because it uses a low-cost DSP board that
plugs into the computer, and the analog electronics are in an external box outside the computer that connects to the DSP board via a 3 to 300 meter cable.
The external box provides 16se/8di 14bit analog inputs, 8 analog outputs (8bit), and 8 digital i/o bits, with a maximum aggregate sample rate of 166ks/sec.
The analog inputs have signal conditioning amplifiers on all channels, which make them very accurate. Also, the wires to the analog inputs connect to screw
terminals at the box; therefore, they are never routed in a multiwire cable, where 10 to 500mV of cross talk from other signals can be induced. Subsequently,
one can directly attach thermocouples, RTD's, and strain gages to the analog inputs. Each channel has independently programmable digital filters (low pass, hp, bp, and bs);
independently programmable integration times, and independently programmable analog low pass filters. The communication between the DSP board and the outboard box
is 4,000,000 bits/second, and the external boxes can be daisy-chained. The system includes a free strip chart/oscilloscope application program that
can be used to set options, and view the inputs/outputs in real-time. instruNet is compatible with Windows computers.
In 2010, GWI introduced the instruNet i4xx Card Cage product family, and the i240 USB controller,
which provides flexible hardware with unprecedented accuracy at relatively low cost.
In 2016, GWI introduced the
i600/i601 standalone USB data acquisition systems.
The i601 provides ±36V bank electrical isolation;
whereas the less costly i600 directly connects
I/O signal ground to computer ground via the USB cable.
The i601 is the smallest and most accurate data
acquisition system with electrical isolation
that connects directly to sensors.