What is engineering art and feasibility of a technical solution? The opportunities and level of details of laser diagnostics are countless, but for optical instrumentation to have a practical implication for deployment in field or in industry the demands are entirely different from what can be accomplished in the laboratory on a good day. The instrumentation has to be rigid, robust, simple and inexpensive. Our group have developed and applied instruments in challenging conditions across Africa and South America over the last decades. This aspect is of great feasibility and interest of the industry and our group have spurred numerous spin-off company over the years. We strive to reduce size, weight and cost while optimizing performance for specific tasks in realistic ways. In particular we operate with inexpensive light emitting diode multiplexing, tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy and the Scheimpflug lidar method based on CMOS and InGaAs arrays. We also develop simple tools such as passive entomological lidar based on sunlight. We have profound expertise in instrumentation with discrete optoelectronic components and can develop both circuitry and custom mechanics.