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Using Microsoft Directx In A Dsp Laboratory

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Curriculum Development in Computer ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1417.1 - 10.1417.8



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Paper Authors

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Peter Goodmann

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Using Microsoft DirectX In a DSP Laboratory Peter E. Goodmann, P.E. Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne


This paper reports on the use of Microsoft DirectX as a laboratory teaching tool in a junior-level digital signal processing (DSP) course for technology students. The DirectX Software Development Kit (available as a no-cost download from Microsoft), along with Microsoft Visual C++ or Visual Studio, can turn any soundcard-equipped desktop or laptop PC into a self- contained DSP laboratory for software development, experimentation, and teaching.

Teaching DSP to ECET students represents a unique challenge, due to the hands-on emphasis compared with the more theoretically-oriented engineering curriculum. Ideally, a technology DSP course would include laboratory exercises which allow the student to experience the results of various digital signal processing functions by seeing or hearing them. Furthermore, some of the lab exercises should require the student to develop code which executes in realtime, to build an awareness of hardware limitations and the need to write efficient code. These objectives suggest the use of DSP hardware, such as the DSP evaluation modules which are available from DSP manufacturers (Analog Devices, Texas Instruments, etc.). That approach means buying multiple copies of hardware which can only be used for the DSP class, and which may represent a significant investment. The approach described here allows the student to develop and execute realtime signal-processing software using C++ and a standard PC. The PC soundcard is used for signal input and signal output, allowing students to hear the results of their DSP software. Hardware limitations imposed by the PC, while not overly restrictive, do require a bit of discipline and ingenuity on the part of the student. The low-cost of this approach makes it easy for students to equip their own home or laptop computers for DSP development, so they are not tethered to a laboratory on campus.


The laboratory portion of a DSP course in an ECET curriculum is of particular importance due to the more hands-on, less theoretical nature of the technology curriculum compared with engineering. DSP laboratory experiments should be designed to enhance student understanding of basic DSP concepts which many students find difficult to grasp. Experiments should also expose students to real-world design limitations such as processor throughput in order to teach them the need to write efficient code. The required lab equipment should be affordable. If possible it should be so affordable that individual students can purchase it themselves if they so choose, so they can work on lab experiments outside laboratory sessions.

One common approach to DSP lab experiments is to use DSP hardware, usually in the form of an “evaluation module” (EVM) based on a popular DSP chip. An example is the Analog Devices

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Goodmann, P. (2005, June), Using Microsoft Directx In A Dsp Laboratory Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15198

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