Analysis

STEMlab recruited to test radar warning system

10th July 2018
Mick Elliott

A consortium including members from a major European research organisation, two German universities and industry,  is using Red Pitaya’s STEMlab to perform waveform synthesis, IF signal sampling & signal processing on a new radar warning and information system for applications in disaster management (RAWIS) that is under development. 

During a search and rescue operation, emergency teams and trapped survivors are exposed to high risk from partially- destroyed buildings and structures which can collapse causing injury. More, the situation is constantly changing as debris is moved.

RAWIS will monitor any movement in the disaster environment and to warn individual of any danger. Harmless motion - people, rescue vehicles, animals, tree leaves etc - must be successfully suppressed. The RAWIS system consists of a main radar system which monitors the entire scene and measures submillimeter debris movements of any debris, auxiliary radars to perform measurements of individual hot spots, and units which are fastened to clothing worn by the rescuers.

Auxiliary radars, which can cover hidden or covered areas, operate within the V-Band as the best compromise between resolution, size and system cost.

Synthesis of the Tx waveform, sampling of the IF signal and signal processing are performed using Red Pitaya’s STEMlab, a low cost, credit-card sized FPGA board suitable for Software-defined Radar (SDR) applications.

This platform contains dual-channel AD/DA conversion capabilities with 14-bit resolution at 125MHz sample frequency.

Comments CEO Rok Mesar: “This is a perfect example of industry and academia working together to solve a complex challenge. The high performance, small size, low weight and low cost of our STEMlab platform will enable this system to be easily and cost-effectively deployed, ensuring that rescue teams are kept as safe as possible.”

Red Pitaya is a privately-owned, Slovenian company established in 2013 with the goal of changing the test and measurement market.

Its first product is STEMlab, a credit-card-sized, multi-function, open-source and reconfigurable instrument that is designed to be a low-cost alternative to many expensive measurement and control instruments.

STEMlab can function as an Oscilloscope, Logic Analyser, Signal Generator, Spectrum Analyzer and much more. STEMlab is not just a product, it is a test and measurement environment that includes a board, an application marketplace and a source code library.

Users – which vary from small student teams all the way up to large multi-national corporations - have described STEMlab as ‘the Swiss Army PenKnife for engineers’.

STEMlab is based on high-end FPGA technology, enabling software and hardware programming, coupled with very accurate high-end ADCs. Customisable at the FPGA and CPU levels, STEMlab can process real-world signals.

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