Raspberry Pi is a low cost single-board computer that gained recently the attention of hobbyists and practitioners, especially for file server and media server applications. Nowadays, there are plenty of existing projects, easily available on the Internet, which work on 1st generation or 2nd generation Raspberry Pis.
Advanced users can also develop their own applications using Python or other languages, taking benefit from the availability of such a versatile and cheap device to realize customized solutions to their needs.
What is really remarkable, however, is that Raspberry Pi’s software can be developed also by users with no programming experiences thanks to the model based design (MBD) paradigm, that allows the modeling and the simulation of dynamic systems within a graphical environment. According to the MDB paradigm, the software development phase simply consists on the choice and the graphical interconnection of predefined blocks that perform block-specific functions, whose behavior is controlled by the user-defined values of their parameters.
Simulink, developed by MathWorks, is the most famous graphical environment for the model based design of dynamic systems. Thanks to the free Raspberry Pi Support Package provided by Mathworks, Raspberry Pi boards are fully supported by Simulink, that allows not only the system modeling and simulation, but also the automatic code generation. At the end of the modeling and simulation phases, in fact, Simulink “translates” the designed model into an executable, which is finally downloaded on the selected hardware platform.
Example of Simulink project
This possibility allows the implementation of actual systems on a real device without any programming skills and at a very limited cost.
The material freely available in this website, consisting of Simulink projects and the related documentation, is aimed at showing the implementation on Raspberry Pi boards of digital communication systems designed within the Simulink environment. These practical experiences, intended for use within telecommunication courses, provide a viable, low cost, way to introduce students, hobbyists and technology enthusiasts to the software-defined radio (SDR) design paradigm.