Letter from Clint Cole– Welcome

Hello all!

We’ve been building student-focused design kits for more than fourteen years, and I thought it might be time we shared some information about our company and our mission.


Digilent products can now be found in more than 2000 schools worldwide, and each semester, more than 150,000 people in 70 countries use our products to learn, teach, and design electronics.   In the late 1990s, Gene Apperson and I were working as engineers in the Seattle area. By 1999, we had both resettled in

DigiLab — our second education board released.
DigiLab — our second education board released.

Pullman, WA, and had joined the faculty at Washington State University. We were eager to help teach new engineers the design skills they needed, but we soon learned the tools and methods used in education had not kept pace with industry. So we started producing FPGA-based “personal design kits” that students could use with industry-standard tools to build real circuits – we knew it was important that every student practice their evolving design skills as a part of every assignment.   At the time, many schools were beginning to recognize the value of getting students more hands-on design experience, even as they were struggling to keep up with the rapid changes in industry.


So, in 2000 we started Digilent in order to build the world’s best student-focused design kits. From the beginning, we knew our kits had to be stable, reliable, and well-supported so that schools could build classes in analog, digital, and microprocessor design around them. We knew they had to be low-cost, small, and portable so that students everywhere could afford them and use them in any setting, in or out of a teaching lab. And we knew they had to be relevant – we had to expose students to the latest and best technologies from world-leading engineering companies.

The newest Zybo board, released earlier this year.
The newest Zybo board, released earlier this year.


Since those early days, we’ve kept our eyes and ears open, and we’ve continued to produce new and improved design kits. Our current family of student-focused kits include the $99* mixed-signal Analog Discovery (an “all-in-one” instrument for analog design that includes a dual-channel 100MSPS oscilloscope, a dual channel 100MSPS arbitrary waveform generator, a 16-channel logic analyzer, and +/-5V power supplies); the $69* Basys2 FPGA-based digital design kit; and the $26+* Arduino-compatible chipKIT boards that feature 32-bit MIPs processors. You’ll find more information about these and hundreds of related products on our website.   We look forward to working with you, the innovators, educators, and makers, and with leading companies like Xilinx, Analog Devices, Texas Instruments, Microchip and others, as we continue in our mission.


Our goal is to get every engineering student in the world the tools they need to complete significant designs as a part of every assignment – we’ve made great progress, but there is still much to do.   Last year, Digilent was acquired by National Instruments. This has been great for us — working with NI has let us focus resources on developing and supporting our core products, while extending our market reach at the same time. And NI is every bit as committed as we are to improving engineering education — we couldn’t have found a better partner.


Please take a moment to look through our website, and be sure to visit our Classroom page and our new Learn website. You’ll find lots of projects, designs, reference materials, and even complete college-ready courses. And don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help in any way.


Clint Cole President,
Digilent Inc.


P.S. We’ve created a newsletter to keep you informed as we release new products and improve our educational offerings. We value your privacy, so you will only receive the Digilent newsletter by opting-in (and you can easily opt-out at any time). Click here to sign up. * prices indicated are student prices


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