Real-time signal processing based on both general purpose microprocessors and fast digital signal processors is a technique that emerged in the 1970's, and is now widely considered one of the fastest growing application areas in the field of digital technology. Applications include biomedical signal analysis, image analysis, image coding and decoding, and audio signal enhancement. Typically for filtering, the analogue waveform is first digitized by an ADC, and the binary values are transmitted to a DSP device that filters them using an appropriate algorithm. The processed data are then sent to a DAC that outputs a filtered analogue signal.
Signal Wizard systems, developed within SISP are unique, integrated DSP instruments for designing, downloading and running very high performance audio-bandwidth filters in real-time, in addition to performing many other functions such as signal generation and real-time spectrum analysis. This research evolved from hardware and software that we originally developed for the purposes of teaching DSP to our students. Now, these systems are available as products through our commercial spin-off programme. We continue to research and develop all aspects of these devices. The first system launched for commercial use was Signal Wizard 1.6 in 2001. Since that time, Signal Wizards 2.0 and 2.5 have been released. Signal Wizard 3 is currently under development.
Signal Wizard 2.5 Hardware
A Signal Wizard unit includes the high-level PC-based software interface that designs the filter or processing operation according to the user's requirements, a hardware module based on an advanced digital signal processor connected to the PC via an interface and a low-level firmware operating system embed in the unit that implements the operations. The user software is highly integrated, encapsulating the functions of filter design, download and hardware control.
Signal Wizard 2.5 Software
Signal Wizard 2.5 is a dual channel system which communicates with the computer via the serial interface. The software allows the user to design and run in real time almost any kind of filter - FIR, IIR or adaptive, without the need to know any of the associated mathematics. In addition, the system can perform real time signal capture and spectrum analysis, sine wave and arbitrary function generation, signal mixing, echo, delay, and a host of statistics. Once the hardware has been configured for a given operation, a click of the mouse button stores the setting in its flash memory so that it runs the algorithm from power up, with no need for a computer.
Signal Wizard 3
Signal Wizard 3, now under development, is an eight channel system incorporating digital audio (S/PDIF), USB, JTAG and a parallel interface. The presence of a JTAG means that it can be programmed and controlled using commercially available software (the hardware debugger from Freescale). Signal Wizard 3 employs a new, very powerful DSP device, and using the high level software, the developer can simply design algorithms by linking icons, which represent DSP operations, in a chain from input to output. No other 3rd party software is needed for design, download or control.
The DSP group is SISP is eager to expand its Signal Wizard research portfolio and welcomes research applications in this area.