LONDON -- The field of test and measurement is set to benefit from open-source software applications if a Kickstarter fundraising project is successful.
The Red Pitaya, a credit card-sized, reconfigurable open-source measurement board, performs signal processing on an onboard Xilinx Zinq FPGA. The board has about 60MHz of input bandwidth and will come with a set of applications, including an oscilloscope, a spectrum analyzer, an arbitrary signal generator, a frequency response analyzer, and a proportional-integral-derivative controller. The board has been designed, and there are about 10 prototypes in existence.
Red Pitaya LLC, the Newport News, Va., company behind the project, was founded in June by four engineers with a background in high-performance instrumentation for particle accelerators. One of the founders, Borut Baricevic, told me in an email that he and Rok Ursic came up with the Red Pitaya idea, and they are working with Ales Bardorfer and Cert Valentincic on the project. Baricevic also said he is eager for Red Pitaya to be more than just a stripped-down measurement board. It is expected to support Bazaar, a free cloud marketplace of open-source T&M applications.
The company hopes to raise $50,000 through Kickstarter for an initial manufacturing run of the boards and to complete the cloud-based infrastructure that will be part of the project's open-source, extensible nature.
The Red Pitaya open-source instrumentation system could go into volume manufacturing if a Kickstarter project is successful.
(Source: Red Pitaya LLC)
The Red Pitaya board includes multiple input channels, A-to-D converters, and a Xilinx Zynq FPGA that performs digital signal processing and contains the processor core to host additional software. Numerous digital outputs can send information to a smartphone or tablet for display or storage. Kickstarter participants can pre-order a board for $299 (a promotional price, according to the company).
Red Pitaya will also provide an online development environment called Backyard that will contain building blocks of open-source code and tools to help users develop applications.
Baricevic said in an email:
Red Pitaya is not just a board. It's an ecosystem that includes hardware, FPGA, software and graphical user interface in order to be used as an out-of-the-box measurement instrument, without the need to write any lines of code. Red Pitaya is open especially in terms of the software and FPGA. However, the schematic diagrams will be available for FPGA development. Our goal is to enable a large audience to develop new applications, tailored to their own needs, and fully utilize the reconfigurability of Red Pitaya. On the other hand, our pricing is so convenient that it does not make sense to copy the hardware.
The board includes dual analog input/output channels with 125-megasample-per-second, 14-bit resolution ADCs from Linear Technology. There are four analog IO channels with 100-kilosample-per-second, 12-bit resolution ADCs. There are 16 digital GPIO lines (eight differential pairs) with FPGA connectivity, and four pairs of differential digital signals can be used for synchronization and serial data transfer. An external clocking option is provided through a dedicated differential pair line.
The board includes a 1Gbit DDR2 DRAM and a microSD card to contain the operating system and FPGA image. Other connectivity options include 100Mbit Ethernet, USB and USB 2.0, JTAG, I2C, UART, and SPI.