Kintex Ultrascale FPGA-Based Cards Target Radar, Comms

Pentek has ntroduced the newest member of the Jade family of high-performance data converter XMC modules based on the Xilinx Kintex Ultrascale FPGA. The Model 71141 is a 6.4 GHz dual channel analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converter with programmable DDCs (digital downconverters) and DUCs (digital upconverters). The Model 71141 is suitable for connection to IF or RF signals for very wideband communications or radar system applications including:

  • Satellite communications (SATCOM)
  • Phased array radar, SIGINT and ELINT
  • Synthetic aperture radar (SAR)71141
  • Time-of-flight and LIDAR distance measurement
  • RF sampling software defined radio (SDR)

For applications that require unique functions, users can install custom IP for specialized data processing tasks. Pentek’s Navigator FPGA Design Kit includes source code for all factory-installed IP modules. Developers can integrate their own IP with the Pentek functions or use the Navigator kit to completely replace the Pentek IP with their own.

The Pentek Navigator tools reduce the development time and cost associated with complex designs. Users can also select the size of the FPGA they would like installed so they are getting exactly what they need performance-wise without paying for a larger FPGA they may not need. Unlike others in the industry, Pentek still provides application support to customers at no cost.

The Model 71141 is the first of the Pentek Jade products to use the Texas Instruments ADC12DJ3200 12-bit A/D. The front end accepts analog RF inputs on a pair of front panel SSMC connectors. The converter operates in single-channel interleaved mode with a sampling rate of 6.4 GS/sec and an input bandwidth of 7.9 GHz; or, in dual-channel mode with a sampling rate of 3.2 GS/sec and input bandwidth of 8.1 GHz.

The A/D built-in digital down converters support 2x decimation in real output mode and 4x, 8x or 16x decimation in complex output mode. The A/D digital outputs are delivered into the FPGA for signal processing, data capture or for routing to other module resources.

A Texas Instruments DAC38RF82 D/A with DUC accepts a baseband real or complex data stream from the FPGA and provides that input to the upconversion, interpolation and dual D/A stages. When operating as a DUC, it interpolates and translates real or complex baseband input signals. It delivers real or quadrature (I+Q) analog outputs to the dual 14-bit D/A converter. The two 6.4 GS/sec 14-bit D/As pair well with the dual input channels while delivering more than twice the output performance of previous generations of Pentek products.

The 71141 factory-installed functions include two A/D acquisition and two D/A waveform generation IP modules. In addition, IP modules for DDR4 SDRAM memories, a controller for all data clocking and synchronization functions, a test signal generator and a PCIe Gen.3 interface complete the factory-installed functions. System integrators get to market with less time and risk, because the 71141 delivers a complete turnkey solution without the need to develop any FPGA IP.

The Pentek Jade Architecture is based on the Xilinx Kintex UltraScale FPGA, which raises the digital signal processing (DSP) performance by over 50% with equally impressive reductions in cost, power dissipation and weight. As the central feature of the Jade Architecture, the FPGA has access to all data and control paths, enabling factory-installed functions including data multiplexing, channel selection, data packing, gating, triggering and memory control. A 5 GB bank of DDR4 SDRAM is available to the FPGA for custom applications. The x8 PCIe Gen 3 link can sustain 6.4 GB/s data transfers to system memory. Eight additional gigabit serial lanes and LVDS general-purpose I/O lines are available for custom solutions.

The Model 71141 XMC module is designed to operate with a wide range of carrier boards in PCIe, 3U and 6U VPX, AMC, and 3U and 6U CompactPCI form factors, with versions for both commercial and rugged environments. Designed for air-cooled, conduction-cooled and rugged operating environments, the Model 71141 XMC module with 5 GB of DDR4 SDRAM starts at $18,795. Additional FPGA options are available. The Navigator Design Suite consists of two packages. The Navigator BSP is $2,500 and the Navigator FDK is $3,500.

Pentek | www.pentek.com

Radar Module for Makers

OmniPreSense Corp.’s recently unveiled radar module is capable of detecting objects 5 to 10 m away and giving electronic systems enhanced information about the world around them. Intended for the “maker” community, the $169 OPS241-A module is capable of making any Android phone supporting USB On-the-Go (OTG) into a radar gun.

OmniPreSense
The 53 mm × 59 mm OSP241-A short-range radar is capable of reporting motion, speed, and direction of objects detected in its wide field of view. You can plug it into a Raspberry Pi’s USB port to enable a variety of useful applications. An API provides direct control of the OPS241-A and allows for changes to reported units (e.g., meters/second and miles/hour), transmitted power, and other settings. Compared to PIR or ultrasonic sensors, the OPS241-A provides increased range, a wider coverage area, and immunity to noise and light, while providing enhanced information about the detected object.
Potential applications range from security motion detection to a radar gun. You can plug the OPS241-A directly into an Android phone or tablet running USB OTG and terminal program to turn them into a radar gun. When mounted on a drone, the OPS241-A can detect objects 5 to 10 m away for collision avoidance.

OmniPreSense Corp. | omnipresense.com

New Development Tool for Bluetooth 5

Nordic Semiconductor’s Bluetooth 5 developer solution for its nRF52840 SoC comprises the Nordic S140 v5.0 multi-role, concurrent protocol stack that brings Bluetooth 5’s long range and high throughput modes for immediate use to developers on the Nordic nRF52840 SoC. The Nordic nRF5 SDK offers application examples that implement this new long-range, high-throughput functionality. The existing Nordic nRF52832 SoC is also complemented with a Bluetooth 5 protocol stack.

NordicBluetooth5Board
Bluetooth 5’s high throughput mode offers not only new use cases for wearables and other applications, but also significantly improves user experience with Bluetooth products. Time on air is reduced and thus leads to faster more robust communication as well as reduced overall power consumption. In addition, with 2 Mbps, the prospect of audio over Bluetooth low energy is possible.
The new Preview Development Kit (nRF52840-PDK) is a versatile, single-board development tool for Bluetooth 5, Bluetooth low energy, ANT, 802.15.4m, and 2.4-GHz proprietary applications using the nRF52840 SoC. The kit is hardware compatible with the Arduino Uno Revision 3 standard, making it possible to use third-party-compatible shields. An NFC antenna can be connected to enable NFC tag functionality. The kit gives access to all I/O and interfaces via connectors and has four LEDs and four buttons which are user-programmable.

Nordic Semiconductor | www.nordicsemi.com

Radar Module for Makers

OmniPreSense Corp.’s recently unveiled radar module is capable of detecting objects 5 to 10 m away and giving electronic systems enhanced information about the world around them. Intended for the “maker” community, the $169 OPS241-A module is capable of making any Android phone supporting USB On-the-Go (OTG) into a radar gun.OmniPreSense

The 53 mm × 59 mm  OSP241-A short-range radar is capable of reporting motion, speed, and direction of objects detected in its wide field of view. You can plug it into a Raspberry Pi’s USB port to enable a variety of useful applications. An API provides direct control of the OPS241-A and allows for changes to reported units (e.g., meters/second and miles/hour), transmitted power, and other settings. Compared to PIR or ultrasonic sensors, the OPS241-A provides increased range, a wider coverage area, and immunity to noise and light, while providing enhanced information about the detected object. Potential applications range from security motion detection to a radar gun. You can plug the OPS241-A directly into an Android phone or tablet running USB OTG and terminal program to turn them into a radar gun. When mounted on a drone, the OPS241-A can detect objects 5 to 10 m away for collision avoidance.

Source: OmniPreSense Corp.

 

New Radar Demonstration Kits

Pasternack recently introduced the its new PEM11000-KIT and PEM11002-KIT radar demonstration kits. Covering the 2.4-GHz industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) band, the demo kits are excellent resources for studying radar fundamentals (e.g., object detection, motion detection, and object range) and R&D projects. Pasternack-Radar-Demo-Kit-SQYou can select experimental radar operating modes for CW, FMSW, or Doppler, and you can set output waveforms for single tone, frequency ramp, or sawtooth. The kit—for which no special licensing is required—features a radar board with an integrated speaker and a signal indicator to support A/V feedback of the received signal strength. A tunable signal filter enables you to design and implement customized passive or active filtering.

The PEM11002-KIT model features a radar board, antennas, cables, and accessories that include a mounting plate, tripod, and USB battery pack. It comes with a user guide, programming manual, and lesson guide.

The new PEM11000-KIT and PEM11002-KIT radar demonstration kits are in stock.  The PEM11000-KIT starts at $2,399. The PEM11002-KIT starts at $2,613.

Source: Pasternack Enterprises

79-GHz CMOS Radar Sensor Chips for Automotive Applications

Infineon Technologies recently announced at the Imec Technology Forum in Brussels (ITF Brussels 2016) it is cooperating with Imec to develop integrated CMOS-based, 79-GHz sensor chips for automotive radar applications. According to the announcement, Infineon and Imec expect functional samples to be available in Q3 2016. A complete radar system demonstrator is slated for early 2017.

There are usually up to three radar systems built into vehicles equipped with driver assistance functions. In the future, fully automated cars will be equipped with up to 10 radar systems and 10 additional sensor systems using camera or lidar technologies.

Source: Infineon Technologies

NXP Announces Single-Chip, 77-GHz Radar Transceiver

NXP Semiconductors recently announced the availability of small single-chip, 77-GHz radar transceiver (7.5 × 7.5 mm) with high resolution performance. Working prototypes of the RFCMOS IC are in the hands of NXP’s lead customers. In addition, Google engineers are field testing the ICs with the self-driving cars project.NXP Short Range Radar

The chip’s key characteristics, uses, and specs:

  • About the size of a postage stamp
  • You can integrate the chip “invisibly” practically anywhere in a car.
  • Power consumption is 40% lower than traditional radar ICs.
  • Intended for safety applications (e.g., emergency braking and automated parking)

 

Source: NXP Semiconductors www.nxp.com

A Workspace for Microwave Imaging, Small Radar Systems, and More

Gregory L. Charvat stays very busy as an author, a visiting research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, and the hardware team leader at the Butterfly Network, which brings together experts in computer science, physics, and electrical engineering to create new approaches to medical diagnostic imaging and treatment.

If that wasn’t enough, he also works as a start-up business consultant and pursues personal projects out of the basement-garage workspace of his Westbrook, CT, home (see Photo 1). Recently, he sent Circuit Cellar photos and a description of his lab layout and projects.

Photo 1

Photo 1: Charvat, seated at his workbench, keeps his equipment atop sturdy World War II-era surplus lab tables.

Charvat’s home setup not only provides his ideal working conditions, but also considers  frequent moves required by his work.

Key is lots of table space using WW II surplus lab tables (they built things better back then), lots of lighting, and good power distribution.

I’m involved in start-ups, so my wife and I move a lot. So, we rent houses. When renting, you cannot install the outlets and things needed for a lab like this. For this reason, I built my own line voltage distribution panel; it’s the big thing with red lights in the middle upper left of the photos of the lab space (see Photo 2).  It has 16 outlets, each with its own breaker, pilot lamp (not LED).  The entire thing has a volt and amp meter to monitor power consumption and all power is fed through a large EMI filter.

Photo 2: This is another view of the lab, where strong lighting and two oscilloscopes are the minimum requirements.

Photo 2: This is another view of the lab, where strong lighting and two oscilloscopes are the minimum requirements.

Projects in the basement-area workplace reflect Charvat’s passion for everything from microwave imaging systems and small radar sensor technology to working with vacuum tubes and restoring antique electronics.

My primary focus is the development of microwave imaging systems, including near-field phased array, quasi-optical, and synthetic-aperture radar (SAR). Additionally, I develop small radar sensors as part of these systems or in addition to. Furthermore, I build amateur radio transceivers from scratch. I developed the only all-tube home theater system (published in the May-June 2012 issues of audioXpress magazine) and like to restore antique radio gear, watches, and clocks.

Charvat says he finds efficient, albeit aging, gear for his “fully equipped microwave, analog, and digital lab—just two generations too late.”

We’re fortunate to have access to excellent test gear that is old. I procure all of this gear at ham fests, and maintain and repair it myself. I prefer analog oscilloscopes, analog everything. These instruments work extremely well in the modern era. The key is you have to think before you measure.

Adequate storage is also important in a lab housing many pieces for Charvat’s many interests.

I have over 700 small drawers full of new inventory.  All standard analog parts, transistors, resistors, capacitors of all types, logic, IF cans, various radio parts, RF power transistors, etc., etc.

And it is critical to keep an orderly workbench, so he can move quickly from one project to the next.

No, it cannot be a mess. It must be clean and organized. It can become a mess during a project, but between projects it must be cleaned up and reset. This is the way to go fast.  When you work full time and like to dabble in your “free time” you must have it together, you must be organized, efficient, and fast.

Photos 3–7 below show many of the radar and imaging systems Charvat says he is testing in his lab, including linear rail SAR imaging systems (X and X-band), a near-field S-band phased-array radar, a UWB impulse X-band imaging system, and his “quasi-optical imaging system (with the big parabolic dish).”

Photo 3: This shows impulse rail synthetic aperture radar (SAR) in action, one of many SAR imaging systems developed in Charvat’s basement-garage lab.

Photo 3: This photo shows the impulse rail synthetic aperture radar (SAR) in action, one of many SAR imaging systems developed in Charvat’s basement-garage lab.

Photo 4: Charvat built this S-band, range-gated frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) rail SAR imaging system

Photo 4: Charvat built this S-band, range-gated frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) rail SAR imaging system.

Photo 5: Charvat designed an S-band near-field phased-array imaging system that enables through-wall imaging.

Photo 5: Charvat designed an S-band near-field phased-array imaging system that enables through-wall imaging.

Photo 5: Charvat's X-band, range-gated UWB FMCW rail SAR system is shown imaging his bike.

Photo 6: Charvat’s X-band, range-gated UWB FMCW rail SAR system is shown imaging his bike.

Photo 7: Charvat’s quasi-optical imaging system includes a parabolic dish.

Photo 7: Charvat’s quasi-optical imaging system includes a parabolic dish.

To learn more about Charvat and his projects, read this interview published in audioXpress (October 2013). Also, Circuit Cellar recently featured Charvat’s essay examining the promising future of small radar technology. You can also visit Charvat’s project website or follow him on Twitter @MrVacuumTube.

The Future of Small Radar Technology

Directing the limited resources of Fighter Command to intercept a fleet of Luftwaffe bombers en route to London or accurately engaging the Imperial Navy at 18,000 yards in the dead of night. This was our grandfather’s radar, the technology that evened the odds in World War II.

This is the combat information center aboard a World War II destroyer with two radar displays.

This is the combat information center aboard a World War II destroyer with two radar displays.

Today there is an insatiable demand for short-range sensors (i.e., small radar technology)—from autonomous vehicles to gaming consoles and consumer devices. State-of-the-art sensors that can provide full 3-D mapping of a small-target scenes include laser radar and time-of-flight (ToF) cameras. Less expensive and less accurate acoustic and infrared devices sense proximity and coarse angle of arrival. The one sensor often overlooked by the both the DIY and professional designer is radar.

However, some are beginning to apply small radar technology to solve the world’s problems. Here are specific examples:

Autonomous vehicles: In 2007, the General Motors and Carnegie Mellon University Tartan Racing team won the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge, where autonomous vehicles had to drive through a city in the shortest possible time period. Numerous small radar devices aided in their real-time decision making. Small radar devices will be a key enabling technology for autonomous vehicles—from self-driving automobiles to unmanned aerial drones.

Consumer products: Recently, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers developed a radar sensor for gaming systems, shown to be capable of detecting gestures and other complex movements inside a room and through interior walls. Expect small radar devices to play a key role in enabling user interface on gaming consoles to smartphones.

The Internet of Things (IoT): Fybr is a technology company that uses small radar sensors to detect the presence of parked automobiles, creating the most accurate parking detection system in the world for smart cities to manage parking and traffic congestion in real time. Small radar sensors will enable the IoT by providing accurate intelligence to data aggregators.

Automotive: Small radar devices are found in mid- to high-priced automobiles in automated cruise control, blind-spot detection, and parking aids. Small radar devices will soon play a key role in automatic braking, obstacle-avoidance systems, and eventually self-driving automobiles, greatly increasing passenger safety.

Through-Wall Imaging: Advances in small radar have numerous possible military applications, including recent MIT work on through-wall imaging of human targets through solid concrete walls. Expect more military uses of small radar technology.

What is taking so long? A tremendous knowledge gap exists between writing the application and emitting, then detecting, scattered microwave fields and understanding the result. Radar was originally developed by physicists who had a deep understanding of electromagnetics and were interested in the theory of microwave propagation and scattering. They created everything from scratch, from antennas to specialized vacuum tubes.

Microwave tube development, for example, required a working knowledge of particle physics. Due to this legacy, radar textbooks are often intensely theoretical. Furthermore, microwave components were very expensive—handmade and gold-plated. Radar was primarily developed by governments and the military, which made high-dollar investments for national security.

Small radar devices such as the RFBeam Microwave K-LC1a radio transceiver cost less than $10 when purchased in quantity.

Small radar devices such as the RFBeam Microwave K-LC1a radio transceiver cost less than $10 when purchased in quantity.

It’s time we make radar a viable option for DIY projects and consumer devices by developing low-cost, easy-to-use, capable technology and bridging the knowledge gap!
Today you can buy small radar sensors for less than $10. Couple this with learning practical radar processing methods, and you can solve a critical sensing problem for your project.

Learn by doing. I created the MIT short-course “Build a Small Radar Sensor,” where students learn about radar by building a device from scratch. Those interested can take the online course for free through MIT Opencourseware or enroll in the five-day MIT Professional Education course.

Dive deeper. My soon-to-be published multimedia book, Small and Short-Range Radar Systems, explains the principles and building of numerous small radar devices and then demonstrates them so readers at all levels can create their own radar devices or learn how to use data from off-the-shelf radar sensors.

This is just the beginning. Soon small radar sensors will be everywhere.