MyriadRF has been highlighted by the European Commission as an exemplar of how open source software and hardware can provide what its report describes as a clear “public good.
In a report into the impact of open source software and hardware on the European economy, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology found that open source represented “a public good,” and that we are entering a new era where “digital businesses are built using open source assets.”
In a section of the report discussing software-defined infrastructure in telecommunications systems, the Commission stated that “projects such as the Open Compute Project and MyriadRF exemplify this approach” and that MyriadRF could help boost security by providing open gateware which “potentially provides a route to increased security by permitting scrutiny of the code” when compared to closed-source proprietary application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) approaches.
The full report is available to download under a permissive Creative Commons licence from the European Commission website now.
Bastian Bloessl’s FutureSDR project, which aims to produce an asynchronous SDR runtime supporting hardware acceleration and high portability, has released its first generic blocks thanks to community contributions.
The idea behind the FutureSDR project, Bastian explains, is to boost performance, resolve issues around input/output blocking and timing, offer high portability – including using WebAssembly (WASM) to allow the runtime to execute directly in-browser – and to add support for custom buffers which can offload work to external accelerators like GPUs and FPGAs.
“FutureSDR misses basically all blocks at this stage,” Bastian admits in the project’s latest update. “Fortunately, people started contributing some of them, including blocks to add or multiply a stream with a constant. This block was implemented in way so that it was generic over the arithmetic operation. Thinking a bit further about the concept, we realized that it can be extended to arbitrary operations, creating blocks that are generic over function closures.”
The result: Source, FiniteSource, Apply, Combine, Split, and Filter blocks, all generic over mutable closures – meaning that FutureSDR is ready to “quickly hack something together,” Bastian claims. “We think that these blocks show the bright side of using Rust. While it would be possible to implement similar blocks in other languages and other SDR frameworks, function closures and iterators are really fun with Rust.”
LXRobotics founder and satellite communications enthusiast Alexander Entinger has shared an overview of his LimeSDR USB setup for communicating with the QO-100 orbital transceiver – and it’s driven by a Raspberry Pi.
The name given to the amateur radio transponder on board the Es’Hail-2 satellite, QO-100 is a popular target for both reception and transmission – and many of those targeting it use LimeSDR hardware to do so. Alexander is one of them, sharing a block diagram which explains his transceiver setup.
The heart of the ground station is a LimeSDR USB, connected to a low-cost Raspberry Pi 4 Model B single-board computer running Gqrx courtesy of Luigi Cruz’ PiSDR spin of the Raspberry Pi OS Linux operating system. The setup also includes a Kuhne MKU LNC 10, an AMSAT-DL upconverter, a GPSDO by Leo Bodnar, a Yaesu FT-817ND, and a DJ7GP duo-band feed at 10GHz and 2.4GHz.
The full block diagram is available on Twitter with Alexander promising a presentation offering more details in the near future.
Researchers at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have showcased a liquid metal antenna, designed to confirm to the shape of biological tissue – and to deform without breaking.
“Our liquid metal antenna offers a new capability for the design and fabrication of wireless biodevices, which require conformal tissue-device integration,” says Kento Yamagishi, PhD, lead author of the paper. “We believe this technology paves the way towards minimally invasive, imperceptible medical treatments.”
“While we demonstrated the direct fabrication of microchannels on ultrathin films in this work, direct 3D printing of microchannels enables the creation of microchannels and other fluidic components on different types of surfaces, including biological surfaces,” adds Michinao Hashimoto, associate professor at SUTD, of the work. “We believe that such capabilities will bring new opportunities for biological sensing, communication, and therapeutics.”
The project has been published under open-access terms in the journal Advanced Materials.
RTL-SDR has brought our attention to a new release of Paolo Romani SDRSharp guide, now boasting 61 pages and the software’s latest features.
A free download, Paolo’s guide is now in revision 3.0. While some of its content is specific to particular hardware, most is purely about using the SDRSharp software itself – including a useful tour of the user interface, a quick-start guide, details on connectivity to the Airspy server network, full details on various settings and their defaults, and even a look at selected plugins.
A later section of the guide walks through signal decoding and analysis, including using a “virtual audio cable” to redirect audio from SDRSharp to external decoders, and a glossary provides quick reference for those new to various SDR terms and acronyms.
The guide is available to download now, free of charge, from the Airspy website as a PDF.
Pseudonymous security researcher Aaron “Cemaxecuter” has shown off a new feature of the SDR-specific DragonOS Linux distribution: a graphical user interface for Signal Server which allows for easy radio-frequency propagation analysis.
“[The] Signal Server GUI has been written from scratch,” Aaron explains, “with an incredible amount of detail applied to the user experience. All Signal Server options are configurable and features such as KMZ and Plot to Plot analysis have been added.”
Written by semi-pseudonymous coder Justin C., the GUI is designed to offer a simple interface to the existing Signal Server project – offering a web interface which allows the user to build and save station, antenna, and plot items, and to manipulate various parameters to model RF propagation.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is testing whether cellular phones could help, rather than harm, aircraft navigation – flipping the usual “turn your phones off during take-off and landing” narrative on its head.
“The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been quietly funding tests with live cellphones in light aircraft cockpits,” Mark Harris writes for IEEE Spectrum, “as a possible counter-measure to GPS spoofing attacks.”
While the phone hardware is stock, however, it runs a special application developed by the Centre for Advanced Aviation Systems Development at the Mitre Corporation – designed to track its rough location by pinging base stations, then warn if the position calculated from GPS signal differs.
The idea is that the phones could protect against GPS spoofing attacks – but may also lead to new regulations about when and how passengers on larger plans can use their own mobile phones, too.
The full article is available on IEEE Spectrum now.
Radio amateur Daniel Estévez has written up a project to decode signals from Voyager 1, on its 44th anniversary, using GNU Radio and Python – plus a recording captured in December 2015.
“Today is the 44th anniversary of the launch of Voyager 1, so I want to celebrate by showing how to decode the Voyager 1 telemetry signal using GNU Radio and some Python,” Daniel writes. “In contrast to other posts about deep space probes in this blog, which are of a very specialized nature, I will try to keep this post accessible to a wider audience by giving more details about the basics.”
The project log walks through handling the raw recording, provided in GUPPI format and taking up around 16GB of space, the creation of an embedded Python block in GNU Radio in order to use the GUPPI file as a source, and a process to filter out unwanted parts of the recording to reduce its size to just 127MB.
Later, Daniel’s article discusses the modulation in use, carrier tracking, demodulation, Viterbi decoding to correct bit errors and retrieve the original message, finding the attached synchronisation marker (ASM), an examination of the data bits and technical details of the signal – all accompanied by GNU Radio flow graphs.
The UK Government has announced the launch of a £4 million (around $5.5 million) competition to use street lights and bus shelters to boost the rollout of 5G cellular connectivity in the nation.
“The lampposts lining our streets have huge potential to accelerate the roll out of 5G and reduce the need to build new masts, but right now getting access to this infrastructure can be tricky,” Matt Warman, Digital Infrastructure Minister, claims of the project. “That’s why we are investing millions to help local councils and mobile companies work together more effectively to bring people the incredible benefits of faster connectivity as we level up the UK.”
“Mobile networks are critical to the UK’s economic recovery yet deploying infrastructure on public assets has often proved difficult,” adds Mobile UK’s Hamish MacLeod. “We welcome this competition aimed at breaking down these barriers and accelerating investment in 5G by piloting new digital platforms that bring together public bodies and mobile operators to make public-owned infrastructure more easily accessible. We are committed to working closely with the DCMS and Local Authorities on this project.”
The programme will see companies offered a share of £4 million over the next five years for finding ways to make it easier and faster for companies to use publicly-owned buildings and street furniture like CCTV poles and traffic lights to host 5G base stations.
More details are available on the GOV.UK website.
A partnership between NASA, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and Qascom is going to put a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver on the moon for the first time.
“The Qascom receiver will be part of the on-board payload of the Lunar GNSS Receiver Experiment (LuGRE), defined in the ASI/NASA agreement, which aims to develop an activity in a lunar and cislunar environment,” Inside GNSS writes of the project. “LuGRE will fly on one of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) missions. The mission will also bring 9 other scientific and technological experiments to the Moon.”
The receiver, developed by Qascom, will offer dual-frequency and dual-constellation support and is being tailored specifically for the harsh lunar conditions. It is also tweaked for processing weak signals, picked up from the side-lobs of satellite antennas originally designed purely for reception on Earth.
More details are available on Inside GNSS, with the project scheduled for launch towards the end of 2023.
Researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) have developed a way to count the number of people in a crowd using Wi-Fi signals from off-the-shelf hardware.
“Our proposed approach makes it possible to estimate the number of seated people in an area from outside,” says lab lead Yasamin Mostofi, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UCSB. “This approach utilises only the received power measurements of one Wi-Fi link, does not rely on people to carry a device and works through walls.
“Counting a stationary seated crowd is a considerably challenging problem due to the lack of major body motion. While the people in the crowd are stationary, i.e., with no major body motion except breathing, they do not stay still for a long period of time and frequently engage in small in-place natural body motions called fidgets. For instance, they may adjust their seating position, cross their legs, check their phones, stretch, or cough, among others.”
The system, which relies on these fidgeting behaviours, was tested through 47 experiments across four different environments and proved able to count a small crowd either accurately or off-by-one 96.3 per cent of the time when used in the room and 90 per cent of the time when used through a wall.
Details on the project, including a demonstration video, are available on the UCSB website.