Oscilloscopes An oscilloscope, previously called an oscillograph,[1][2] and informally known as a scope or o-scope, CRO (for cathode-ray oscilloscope), or DSO (for the more modern digital storage oscilloscope), is a type of electronic test instrument that allows observation of varying signal voltages, usually as a two-dimensional plot of one or more signals as a function of time. Other signals (such as sound or vibration) can be converted to voltages and displayed.