We will be working with local entrepreneur and electrical engineer Erica Young Our resident entrepreneur, Erica Young is CEO of Raleigh Dynamics, a local startup bringing high quality RF amplifiers to the consumer market with the aim of cultivating a larger user base for software defined radio (SDR) devices. Expanding the consumer market for SDR devices will enable users to experiment in RF in new ways, including developing new models for public wirless networks. on an interface project related to helping people better interact with GNU Radio, primary interface for use with software defined radio (SDR) boards. The entire class will work on this project. The experience will be like that on a design team within a company.
Students will self-organize, based on skills and interests, into teams that will be responsible for managing different aspects of the project. We will aim to create a working prototype by the end of the semester. In doing this we will learn about hard skills of design: coding, version control, prototyping, user testing, and rollout. More importantly we will also be learning the so-called soft-skills necessary for design: design thinking, project planning, workflow design/management, group decision-making, and collaboration.
The problem space
One of software defined radio's major obstacles to user adoption is the difficulty and extremely specific knowledge required to get started. GNU Radio has combatted that with a large selection of easy to use blocks that the user can piece together to make useful configurations for the field-programmable gate array (FPGA) A Spartan FPGA from Xilinx - Wikipedia
featured on SDRs.
In order to use GNU Radio, users must understand how to configure a wireless network and optimize it for your requirements. This includes choosing a frequency band, power level, data rate, modulation scheme, error correction method, encryption level, and several other optional factors that all interplay and affect how the network functions. Because of the complex nature of feature interaction, many networks are poorly designed and users abandon explorations without ever creating a usable network.
The main target of this project is to create an interface to GNU Radio that helps to guide users through setting up a wireless network in order to program their SDR devices more easily.
Over the course of the semester, we will learn how our individual skills and interests can be applied in the context of a mixed design/development team. Part of that collaborative effort will be developing a timeline of major project milestones over the course of the semester. The resulting timeline will be posted here for reference.