OLPC hardware: what if there was an SDR modem / chipset?

John Gilmore gnu at toad.com
Tue Jan 26 17:42:10 EST 2010

This whole discussion has been happening on the wrong mailing list.
Please move it to discuss-gnuradio at gnu.org (subscribe at
http://www.gnu.org/software/gnuradio/mailinglists.html).  They use and
maintain the GNU Radio free software that does SDR, and also design
and build the USRP hardware that's the cheapest and most capable
hardware currently available for SDR.  They'd be happy to hear about
new chips that make cheap and more capable SDR's possible.

At one point I tried to get someone to design an SDR for a new
generation OLPC -- something that would cost less than 15c per
deployed unit, perhaps using a few analog components and a spare
A-to-D/D-to-A on a sound chip.  For example, something that would
receive AM or FM radio, or transmit AM or FM at low power.  For a
super stretch goal, receive analog TV signals, making the laptop
capable of being a TV set.  And be another sensor that the kids can
learn about the world through.  The biggest cost would probably be
the additional connector for an external antenna.

Even that initiative went nowhere at OLPC (mostly because no
experienced analog engineers stepped up to design such a cheap
circuit).  OLPC can't afford to include even a $2 chip (plus analog
components, power supply, connectors, wires, antennas, etc) for such a
marginal use in their low cost product.  So please move the discussion
to a place where you'll find researchers *happy* to build SDR chips into
their next hardware project.

	John Gilmore

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