Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Virtual satellite dish' thanks to lots of simple processors working together

Date:
October 19, 2010
Source:
University of Twente
Summary:
Satellite TV without having to set up a receiver dish. Digital radio on your mobile phone without your batteries quickly running flat. The advanced calculations needed for these future applications are made possible by a microchip with relatively simple processors that can interact and communicate flexibly.

Image of the Van de Burgwal's chip.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Twente

Satellite TV without having to set up a receiver dish. Digital radio on your mobile phone without your batteries quickly running flat. The advanced calculations needed for these future applications are made possible by a microchip with relatively simple processors that can interact and communicate flexibly. These are among the findings of research at the Centre for Telematics and Information Technology of the University of Twente carried out by Marcel van de Burgwal, who obtained his PhD on 15 October.

Soon it will be possible to receive satellite signals not only with a satellite dish, but also using stationary antennae arrays made up of grids of simple, fixed, almost flat antennae that can fit on the roof of a car, for example. The antennae then no longer need to be carefully aimed: the grid of antennae forms a 'virtual dish'. That is a great advantage, especially for mobile applications such as satellite TV on the move. The aiming of the virtual dish is actually carried out by the entire grid. It is comparable with the LOFAR project, in which countless simple antennae laid out on the heathland of Drenthe in the north east Netherlands together form a huge dish for radiotelescopy. This too calls for large numbers of calculations and fast communications.

Computing power replaces analogue components

Conventional microprocessors are less suitable for these calculations, because they are highly overdimensioned and use large amounts of energy. The remedy is a combination of smaller, simple processors on a single microchip that can carry out tasks flexibly and be switched off when they are not needed. In this way a complete computer network can be constructed that takes up just a few square millimetres. To achieve this, Van de Burgwal makes use of an efficient infrastructure based on a miniature network, where a TV or radio receiver is defined by software instead of the classic coils and crystals. "Software-defined radio may seem much more complex, but we can pack so much computing power into the space taken up by, for example, a coil that it more than repays the effort," says Van de Burgwal.

Chameleon

The same type of microchip also turns out to be suitable for a completely different application: digital radio reception on a smartphone, where the main criterion is minimizing energy use. In his doctoral thesis Van de Burgwal shows that major gains can also be made here by using new methods of communication between the different processors. The multi-processor chip that he uses is based on the Montium processor -- appropriately named after a chameleon -- that was developed at the University of Twente. The processor is being further developed and marketed by the spinoff business Recore Systems.

Marcel van de Burgwal carried out his research in the Computer Architecture for Embedded Systems group, which forms a part of the Centre for Telematics and Information Technology at the University of Twente.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Twente. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Twente. "'Virtual satellite dish' thanks to lots of simple processors working together." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018112354.htm>.
University of Twente. (2010, October 19). 'Virtual satellite dish' thanks to lots of simple processors working together. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018112354.htm
University of Twente. "'Virtual satellite dish' thanks to lots of simple processors working together." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018112354.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins