Engine development is an information-intensive business. Design improvements have to be sought against an increasing array of objective criteria and constraints imposed by technical, economic and legislative forces. The volume of information emerging from engine test cells threatens to isolate the development engineer behind a wall of “info glut”. Solutions often then require the intervention of computer specialists with their machines, increasingly separating the development engineer's evaluation from engine test events.New, small, powerful instruments which employ parallel information processing, are now entering the market. They are able to transform sensor system output into immediately useful information, displayed to the operator at rates commensurate with the capture rate of the raw data. This new level of power and performance is complemented by absence of operational complexity for non-specialist users.The paper briefly explores the main characteristics of these machines, the opportunities they offer to the development engineer and the cost-benefit advantages they can grant to the industry.