Embedded USRP and Gumstix Overo COM Clusters?

Just a quick note about some exciting news I have heard. Thanks to Google Alerts I learned about this interesting press release from Gumstix, announcing the Stagecoach expansion board, which creates an OMAP computing cluster of Gumstix Overo COMs.

This is interesting on its own; however, what I found very intriguing was that the press release includes a statement from Matt Ettus of Ettus Research – makers of the USRP. Can’t help wondering whether this is related to the embedded USRP that is being developed.

Wait… Did I say embedded USRP??? Indeed I did. Sunday evening I saw an email from Philip Balister on the beagle-sdr mailing list showing a photo of what Ettus Research was showing this at the European Reconfigurable Radio Technology Workshop – a prototype of an embedded USRP.

Embedded USRP

This is very interesting for me! The only reason I haven’t already put the USRP on a Nano satellite is the rather large power requirements and that it requires an additional host computer with big muscles. This could be solved by writing my own FPGA code (currently unfeasible) or a low power version of the USRP even if it of lower performance. For host computer the Beagleboard and other OMAP-based COMs with DSP look interesting; however, running GNU Radio on these boards is still very experimental.

I have not seen any official news from Ettus Research about this new development so I can only speculate but it is interesting to note the many USB ports, what looks like audio in/out, and the Gumstix Overo COM module mounted on top of the USRP, which I assume has the role of host computer, i.e. the computer running the GNU Radio software.

I’m looking forward to learn more about this, hopefully very soon Smile

Author: Alexandru Csete

Embedded software engineer in the satcom industry during the day. Radio amateur and SDR hacker during the night.