June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Computers in Education
14.895.1 - 14.895.9
Multidisciplinary Senior Design Using Software-Defined Radio
Multidisciplinary projects involving electrical engineering (EE) and computer science (CS) students are both exciting and difficult to create. We have created a year-long project based on software-defined radio (SDR). The combination of software and hardware makes SDR an excellent choice for senior projects. Senior CS students have enough programming experience to handle the software development; EE seniors have sufficient knowledge to understand the basics of radio, signal processing, and circuit design. The integration of a complex hardware and software system provides an excellent educational experience. In this paper, we describe the senior project courses, the pedagogical goals, and how it supports our ABET course outcomes.
Software-defined radio (SDR) is an important technology that underlies many modern wireless communications systems for both telephony and data communications. With the availability of cheap high-speed computing platforms, inexpensive electronics, and good software development platforms, we believe that SDR is one of the most effective ways to meet the increasing demand for low-cost, flexible data and voice communication systems.
One of the great things about SDR for undergraduate education is that the technology is popular among hobbyists (particularly amateur radio operators) and academics (many of whom are hams). Thus, a variety of SDR systems can be constructed with relatively low cost and from publically available (i.e., non-proprietary) hardware and software components. Examples include the GNU radio1 and FlexRadio’s line of SDRs2.
SDR is a flexible platform that can be easily modified to suit a wide variety of applications, ranging from changing waveforms, to operational frequency bands, and to specialized user interfaces for particular services. Ideally, only software needs to be changed to make these modifications; there is no need to change the hardware. In addition, since SDR systems (to varying degrees) place most of the radio processing in software, an SDR system can be ported to various computing platforms in a straightforward way. For example, at Grove City College (GCC) we are
Birmingham, W. (2009, June), Multidisciplinary Senior Design Using Software Defined Radio Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5722
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