WaveMetrics Under New Ownership

Effective immediately, WaveMetrics is under new ownership. The new owner is Sutter Instrument.

I want to explain how this came to pass and what it means for the future of Igor. Please forgive my long-windedness but I think that our devoted users deserve a full explanation.

In 1987, my former boss and mentor, Larry Hutchinson, showed me an early version of software that he was working on which he called "Igor" as in "scientist's assistant". The software came on one 800K floppy disk and ran on my Mac Plus (upgraded from an original 1984 Macintosh) with 1MB of RAM and no hard drive. Despite the early nature of this software, it already had a command line, a procedure window, graphs, curve fitting, and other analysis operations.

I decided to quit my job and join Larry in a new software venture based on Igor. We shipped Igor 1.0 in early January of 1989. That same year we had the good fortune of hiring Tom Peterson and Jim Prouty, both of whom still work for WaveMetrics.

Igor became Igor Pro circa 1994. We had the additional good fortune of hiring John Weeks and AG, both of whom still work for WaveMetrics, in 1994. And our lucky streak continued with the hiring of Adam Light, who is also still with us, in 2009.

Over the decades, we devoted our efforts to continual improvement of Igor and were rewarded with a user base of bright people all over the world engaged in a vast range of scientific fields. Working with them, and feeling that we made a small contribution to their work, has been tremendously gratifying.

Now 35 years have passed since Larry handed me that floppy disk and we have blown past retirement age. We felt that WaveMetrics and Igor needed younger and more energetic leadership to continue to fulfill our obligation to our users. So we started to look for a potential buyer. Our main criterion was to find a buyer that would respect that obligation.

To make a long story short, the buyer is Sutter Instrument, a neuroscience company based in Novato, California which makes amplifiers, microscopes, micromanipulators, and imaging products. In addition to its long and distinguished history since its beginnings in 1974, Sutter has extensive experience with Igor Pro.

In 2015, Jan Dolzer and Greg Hjelmstadt of Sutter Instrument visited WaveMetrics World Headquarters in Oregon and explained that they were working on a patch clamp system using Sutter hardware and software based on Igor Pro. I noted at the time my impression from the meeting: "The company [Sutter] has a culture much like WaveMetrics - laid back and bending over backward to help customers."

Sutter assembled a team of experts to work on the Igor-based SutterPatch software. It is still under continual development and represents one of the largest and most-sophisticated Igor-based software projects. Our work in providing technical support for SutterPatch development gave us the opportunity to observe Sutter's dedication and inventiveness.

Larry and I are optimistic that this change of ownership will strengthen Igor and ensure its long-term viability. We wish Sutter nothing but success.

And finally, we are very grateful to our users, especially to the old-guard who have been with us for virtually the whole ride. Thank you.

Howard Rodstein
LHR Software, Inc. (formerly WaveMetrics, Inc.)



I am hoping the excellence continues.  My view is that IP was my hidden diamond and I presented it often to my consulting clients and they were often equally impressed.  I still think that it has place in world dominated by python and R.


Thanks, Andy. A few years ago I went to the Society for Neuroscience meeting and wandered amongst the posters. I saw lots of box plots and violin plots, and asked people how they made them. The almost universal answer was something like "It was done with <python/R>. There's a guy down the hall that's good at <python/R>". So I went home and decided to reduce the distractions for that guy down the hall. That was the genesis of the Igor 8 built-in support for box plots and violin plots.

We are confident that Sutter Instrument has our  philosophy of excellence and support for our customers, and a light touch in management. That should keep us WaveMetrics employees happy and productive!

Hi John,

I very much appreciate your efforts with box and violin plots.  My request to the new management is take that effort further. Another program I use a great deal in my consulting work is JMP and it is very much the default program in the semiconductor and offshoot industries. Beefing that section up could allow you to attack that space.  Also JMP is very nice but it is also $1500/year and most users only use a very small fraction of the capability. Also I hate programing in JMP since the language and syntax is different from Igor and Python though it it is similar to R. I can go on my soapbox, but I will offer my input to the new owners if asked.  I am local to them and would be more then willing to go up to chat.

If there's something missing/incorrect in my implementation of box plots or violin plots, I'm the guy to tell it to. Probably best with an email to support@wavemetrics.com, as that gets archived in our support system, but posting something here will most likely get me to create a ticket in our bug tracker. If it's a bug, it's most likely to get into a nightly build. If it's an enhancement, it usually has to wait for the next major version.

@johnweeks the box/violin plot addition to Igor is very much appreciated - I use it a lot!

I have been reading the tributes on the mailing list in light of this news. I don't have much to add beyond those kind words and no claim to bragging about an early serial number. I began using Igor in 1999 and it's still my "go to" software for analysis. The number of features as well as the incredible support are the reasons I tell people to buy a copy. Here's to the future with Sutter Instrument.

I wish you all the best and continued success under the new ownership! A ton of questions are popping up in my head... Are you going to retire now? And will WaveMetrics as a brand be gone? Any change to the website / forum etc. pp.? I guess things will get clear over time, and I am sure your future will be bright. Keep up your great work on this exceptional piece of software!

Only Howard and I are retiring. Everyone else is staying and WaveMetrics is staying.

The real difference is that WaveMetrics now has real managers.


Would you all be willing to post a picture of the entire WaveMetrics team at this point before the retirement? I would love to associate faces with names, especially at this milestone.

Some of us like our privacy and might be upset if such a picture were posted, if it even exists :)

I just read this and Im kinda bummed about the news, since ive been using igor for a very long time in all my various jobs

I hope it continues....Igor 9 is really nice.

In any case, I wish you both a great retirement....   

Thank you.

Doug can rest assured that Igor Pro will continue on.

John is right to say "We are confident that Sutter Instrument has our  philosophy of excellence and support for our customers, and a light touch in management. That should keep us WaveMetrics employees happy and productive!"