Crowd-funding initiative to take LimeSDR platform into mass production
Lime Microsystems has announced the launch of a crowd-funding campaign to bring their LimeSDR software defined radio platform into full-scale production. The campaign, hosted on the Crowd Supply platform, aims to raise $500,000 to fund the final stages of development and mass production of the LimeSDR platform.
The LimeSDR platform is a low cost application-enabled Software Defined Radio (SDR) platform that can be programmed to support virtually any type of wireless standard. From WiFi, ZigBee and Bluetooth through to cellular standards such as UMTS, LTE and GSM and to the emerging IoT communication protocols such as LoRa, the platform offers endless wireless connectivity opportunities.
For network operators, for example, they can now create and deploy wireless network infrastructure almost anywhere at a fraction of today’s costs. Likewise, educational establishments, research organisations and the maker community can learn and test new communications techniques, unleash applications and open up new markets using the powerful LimeSDR platform. Potential applications identified already also include RADAR, radio astronomy and IoT gateways.
Measuring just 100x60 mm, the LimeSDR board uses the Lime Microsystems LMS7002M Field Programmable Radio Frequency (FPRF) transceiver to provide continuous coverage of the frequency range 100kHz to 3.8GHz with a 120MHz RF bandwidth. The transceiver contains two transmit and two receive chains for provisioning a 2x2 multiple in multiple out (MIMO) capability. Complementing the wireless transceiver is an Intel/Altera Cyclone IV Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) that allows high bandwidth DSP tasks to be carried out in hardware. Interfacing to the host application is via USB 3.0 using a Cypress USB 3.0 microcontroller. Transmit output, up to 6.5dBm continuous wave, is through four U.FL connectors, providing two outputs per transceiver chain. Six U.FL connectors, three per receiver chain, are used for receiver antennas.
Ebrahim Bushehri, CEO, Lime Microsystems comments, “With LimeSDR our aim is to bring the same level of programmability we have in the digital domain into RF and as a result, we believe the next gen of wireless networks could bring real innovation into this field.”
Ensuring that LimeSDR backers can start development as quickly as possible, Lime Microsystems have built a wide range of open source support tools and resources such as providing a host drive architecture that supports SoapySDR and UHDTM APIs from the outset. SoapySDR is a vendor and platform neutral SDR support library used to provide a C++ API with C wrapper and Python bindings, while UHDTM API support means compatibility with a vast array of existing SDR ecosystem applications. Rapid application development is made possible by support from the Pothos dataflow programming software suite and the GNU Radio open source signal processing toolkit.
Ubuntu’s authors, Canonical Limited, support the development of LimeSDR. Maarten Ectors, VP of IoT at Ubuntu said, “Developers will now be able to take any wireless standard and package it as an app and upload it to the app store so anyone will be able to use it. Getting behind the LimeSDR campaign could mean that you develop the equivalent of Angry Birds for wireless communications.”
A limited number of early bird LimeSDR platforms are available for $199. Selected backer levels will also include cases, antennas and cables for easy and quick set-up. The LimeSDR hardware design, FPGA RTL and USB controller firmware, together with the associated host driver, are all open source and have been published via myriadrf.org.