Analog Devices puts SDR, RF & analogue teaching aids into USB modules

Analog Devices puts SDR, RF & analogue teaching aids into USB modules

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Analog Devices has devised a pair of learning aids for students in formal education, and for self-teaching, in the form of two active learning modules that introduce electrical engineering concepts including software radio.
By Graham Prophet


With a software-defined-radio focus, the ADALM-PLUTO Active Learning Module helps students learn the fundamentals of software-defined radio (SDR), radio frequency (RF), and wireless communications and experiment using independent receive and transmit channels operating in full duplex. These hands-on learning design approaches give students, lecturers, and enthusiasts the freedom and creativity to expand the scope of course materials and explore real-time design scenarios.

The ADALM-PLUTO Software-Defined Radio Active Learning Module helps introduce electrical engineering students to the practical operating scenarios of SDR, RF, and wireless communications. The active learning module features independent receive and transmit channels that can operate in full duplex and generate or acquire RF analogue signals from 325 MHz to 3800 MHz at up to 61.44 megasamples per second (MSPS). Small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, the module is completely self-contained and entirely USB powered. The ADALM-PLUTO is accessed by the cross platform (Windows, Linux and OS X) libiio library, allowing students to learn and explore a variety of platforms (x86 and ARM). The ADALM-PLUTO can be used as the key component of a communications or RF lab with SDR signal processing and visualization frameworks such as MATLAB, Simulink, or GNU Radio, which students can use anywhere, including remote learning.


“The ADALM-PLUTO, with MATLAB and Simulink, has been an invaluable tool for my students by providing a rewarding learning experience in digital communication systems engineering,” said Dr. Alexander Wyglinski, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and director of the Wireless Innovation Laboratory, Worcester Polytechnic Institute. “By enabling students to design actual wireless communication systems quickly and perform over-the-air experiments in a matter of weeks, the ADALM-PLUTO will help these future engineers synthesize theoretical concepts taught in the classroom and learn about practical, real-world design considerations using the latest software-defined radio technology.”

With a more general analogue-circuitry teaching theme, the ADALM2000 Active Learning Module emulates a range of conventional bench-top instrumentation, in the context of exploring analogue circuit functions, using ADCs and DACs, together with PC-hosted software.

The ADALM2000 Active Learning Module is a USB-powered software-defined instrument. With two analogue differential inputs, two analogue single-ended outputs, two power supplies, and 16-bits of digital input or outputs, students have the freedom to explore signals and systems into the tens of MHz without the limitations of a traditional lab. When coupled with Analog Devices’ Scopy graphical application software, the user gains access to the most popular instrumentation functions. The instrumentation functions included are: a DC/AC voltmeter, 30 MHz oscilloscope, ±5V power supply, 50 MHz spectrum analyzer, 30 MHz signal generator, 30 MHz arbitrary waveform generator, 100 MHz logic analyzer, 60+ different protocol bus analyzers, and 100 MHz digital pattern generator. Scopy, an open source application, supports all major platforms used by faculty and students (Windows, Linux and OS X) and features a plugin architecture for supporting user developed instruments, such as network analyzers.


Both units are priced on ADI’s website at $99.


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