This thread may be off-topic, but it does directly relate to AVR controllers. If its felt to be off-topic, feel free to move it to the appropriate forum.
Looking at my workbench, I am aware that the B&K 5491A bench meter, the Tektronix TDS2012 oscilloscope, the B&K 1786A programmable power supply, the BitScope and the new Fluke 8845A bench meter all have RS232 communications.
Thinking about this, I have the making for the basics for an automated test bench. What is lacking is the central controller.
I've played with the manufacturer supplied software for each instrument at one time or another and frankly, what is provided by the instrument manufacturer is usually nothing more then a chunk of code that turns a PC into a glorified data recorder.
I've thought about making an attempt at writing something using Visual BASIC or Visual C# aimed at automated testing, but I have no real experience with either of those languages that would be useful for me on this type of project. Besides, I don't want dependence on a particular PC platform - beyond the use of a garden variety VT100 terminal emulator, or the like. No, I don't need a spiffy GUI, just a solid command structure and workable file storage capability.
I'm thinking that I might use one of those spiffy Xmega samples that I got from Atmel as a traffic cop containing a protocol emulator for each instrument. The key here is that I'll need quite a few serial communications channels, and if I remember correctly, the Xmega has something like 4.
Then too, maybe I could come up with a controller for each instrument that supports a particular instruments command protocol, and use an Xmega as the traffic cop with a common command protocol that communicates with each sub-controller dedicated to each specific instrument.
I have no low level (or high level, for that matter) experience with automated testing. But I think that this could be a fun project to tinker with.
Any thoughts, especially those from the side of experience, would be welcome.