There and Back Again: Time of Flight Ranging between Two Wireless Nodes

Qasim Chaudhari October 23, 20175 comments

With the growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) products, the number of applications requiring an estimate of range between two wireless nodes in indoor channels is growing very quickly as well. Therefore, localization is becoming a red hot market today and will remain so in the coming years.

One question that is perplexing is that many companies now a days are offering cm level accurate solutions using RF signals. The conventional wireless nodes usually implement synchronization...

Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part 4. Engineering of Evaluation Hardware

Steve Maslen October 10, 2017
Following on from the previous abstract descriptions of an arbitrary circuit emulation application for low-latency feedback controllers, we now come to some aspects in the hardware engineering of an evaluation design from concept to first power-up. In due course a complete specification along with  application  examples will be maintained on the project website. 

Online DSP Classes: Why Such a High Dropout Rate?

Rick Lyons October 7, 201714 comments

Last year the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine published a lengthy article describing three university-sponsored online digital signal processing (DSP) courses [1]. The article detailed all the effort the professors expended in creating those courses and the courses' perceived values to students. 

However, one fact that struck me as important, but not thoroughly addressed in the article, was the shocking dropout rate of those online courses. For two of the courses the article's...

Two Bin Exact Frequency Formulas for a Pure Real Tone in a DFT

Cedron Dawg October 4, 20179 comments

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by deriving exact formulas for the frequency of a real tone in a DFT. This time it is a two bin version. The approach taken is a vector based one similar to the approach used in "Three Bin Exact Frequency Formulas for a Pure Complex Tone in a DFT"[1]. The real valued formula presented in this article actually preceded, and was the basis for the complex three bin...

Errata for the book: 'Understanding Digital Signal Processing'

Rick Lyons October 4, 20175 comments
Errata 3rd Ed. International Version.pdfErrata 3rd Ed. International Version.pdf

This blog post provides, in one place, the errata for each of the many different Editions/Printings of my book Understanding Digital Signal Processing.

If you would like the errata for your copy of the book, merely scroll down and click on the appropriate red line below. For the American versions of the various Editions of the book you'll need to know the "Printing Number" of your copy of the...

Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part 3. Sampled Data Aspects

Steve Maslen September 9, 2017
Some Design and Simulation Considerations for Sampled-Data Controllers

This article will continue to look at some aspects of the controllers and electronics needed to create emulated physical circuits with real-world connectivity and will look at the issues that arise in sampled-data controllers compared to continuous-domain controllers. As such, is not intended as an introduction to sampled-data systems.

Finally got a drone!

Stephane Boucher August 28, 20172 comments

As a reader of my blog, you already know that I have been making videos lately and thoroughly enjoying the process.  When I was in Germany early this summer (and went 280 km/h in a porsche!) to produce SEGGER's 25th anniversary video, the company bought a drone so we could get an aerial shot of the party (at about the 1:35 mark in this video).  Since then, I have been obsessing on buying a drone for myself and finally made the move a few weeks ago - I acquired a used DJI...

Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part 2. Ideal Model Examples

Steve Maslen August 24, 2017
Developing and Validating Simulation Models

This article will describe models for simulating the systems and controllers for the hardware emulation application described in Part 1 of the series.

Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part I. Introduction

Steve Maslen August 22, 2017
Introduction to the topic 

This is the 1st in a series of articles looking at how we can use DSP and Feedback Control Sciences along with some mixed-signal electronics and number-crunching capability (e.g. FPGA), to create arbitrary (within reason) Electrical/Electronic Circuits with real-world connectivity. Of equal importance will be the evaluation of the functionality and performance of a practical design made from modestly-priced state of the art devices.

  • Part 1: 

Exact Near Instantaneous Frequency Formulas Best at Zero Crossings

Cedron Dawg July 20, 2017

This is an article that is the last of my digression from trying to give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT). It is along the lines of the last two.

In those articles, I presented exact formulas for calculating the frequency of a pure tone signal as instantaneously as possible in the time domain. Although the formulas work for both real and complex signals (something that does not happen with frequency domain formulas), for real signals they...

Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) - A Tutorial

Qasim Chaudhari January 25, 20174 comments

Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) is one of the most spectrally efficient modulation schemes available. Due to its constant envelope, it is resilient to non-linear distortion and was therefore chosen as the modulation technique for the GSM cell phone standard.

MSK is a special case of Continuous-Phase Frequency Shift Keying (CPFSK) which is a special case of a general class of modulation schemes known as Continuous-Phase Modulation (CPM). It is worth noting that CPM (and hence CPFSK) is a...

Oscilloscope Dreams

Jason Sachs January 15, 20125 comments

My coworkers and I recently needed a new oscilloscope. I thought I would share some of the features I look for when purchasing one.

When I was in college in the early 1990's, our oscilloscopes looked like this:

Now the cathode ray tubes have almost all been replaced by digital storage scopes with color LCD screens, and they look like these:

Oscilloscopes are basically just fancy expensive boxes for graphing voltage vs. time. They span a wide range of features and prices:...

Frequency-Domain Periodicity and the Discrete Fourier Transform

Eric Jacobsen August 6, 2012


Some of the better understood aspects of time-sampled systems are the limitations and requirements imposed by the Nyquist sampling theorem [1]. Somewhat less understood is the periodic nature of the spectra of sampled signals. This article provides some insights into sampling that not only explain the periodic nature of the sampled spectrum, but aliasing, bandlimited sampling, and the so-called "super-Nyquist" or IF sampling. The approaches taken here include both mathematical...

Computing the Group Delay of a Filter

Rick Lyons November 19, 200817 comments

I just learned a new method (new to me at least) for computing the group delay of digital filters. In the event this process turns out to be interesting to my readers, this blog describes the method. Let's start with a bit of algebra so that you'll know I'm not making all of this up.

Assume we have the N-sample h(n) impulse response of a digital filter, with n being our time-domain index, and that we represent the filter's discrete-time Fourier transform (DTFT), H(ω), in polar form...

TCP/IP interface (Matlab/Octave)

Markus Nentwig June 17, 201210 comments

Communicate with measurement instruments via Ethernet (no-toolbox-Matlab or Octave)


Measurement automation is digital signal processing in a wider sense: Getting a digital signal from an analog world usually involves some measurement instruments, for example a spectrum analyzer. Modern instruments, and also many off-the-shelf prototyping boards such as FPGA cards [1] or microcontrollers [2] are able to communicate via Ethernet. Here, I provide some basic mex-functions (compiled C...

Noise shaping

Markus Nentwig December 9, 20121 comment

Keywords: Quantization noise; noise shaping

A brief introduction to noise shaping, with firm resolve not to miss the forest for the trees. We may still stumble over some assorted roots. Matlab example code is included.


Fig. 1 shows a digital signal that is reduced to a lower bit width, for example a 16 bit signal being sent to a 12 bit digital-to-analog converter. Rounding to the nearest output value is obviously the best that can be done to minimize the error of each...

How Discrete Signal Interpolation Improves D/A Conversion

Rick Lyons May 28, 20121 comment
This blog post is also available in pdf format. Download here.

Earlier this year, for the Linear Audio magazine, published in the Netherlands whose subscribers are technically-skilled hi-fi audio enthusiasts, I wrote an article on the fundamentals of interpolation as it's used to improve the performance of analog-to-digital conversion. Perhaps that article will be of some value to the subscribers of Here's what I wrote:

We encounter the process of digital-to-analog...

Signal Processing Contest in Python (PREVIEW): The Worst Encoder in the World

Jason Sachs September 7, 20136 comments

When I posted an article on estimating velocity from a position encoder, I got a number of responses. A few of them were of the form "Well, it's an interesting article, but at slow speeds why can't you just take the time between the encoder edges, and then...." My point was that there are lots of people out there which take this approach, and don't take into account that the time between encoder edges varies due to manufacturing errors in the encoder. For some reason this is a hard concept...

Optimizing the Half-band Filters in Multistage Decimation and Interpolation

Rick Lyons January 4, 201615 comments

This blog discusses a not so well-known rule regarding the filtering in multistage decimation and interpolation by an integer power of two. I'm referring to sample rate change systems using half-band lowpass filters (LPFs) as shown in Figure 1. Here's the story.

Figure 1: Multistage decimation and interpolation using half-band filters.

Multistage Decimation – A Very Brief Review

Figure 2(a) depicts the process of decimation by an integer factor D. That...

Curse you, iPython Notebook!

Christopher Felton May 2, 20124 comments


First, I think ipython is great. I use it daily and always have an ipython terminal open.  But just recently, I was showing off the ipython 0.12 notebook and in the process created a lengthy example while demonstrating the cool features of the ipython notebook.  The example included LaTeX equations, plots, etc.  Since the notebook session was on something of relevance I decided to clean up the session and use it for the beginning of a report.

50,000th Member Announced!

Stephane Boucher January 11, 2010

In my last post, I wrote that was about to reach the 50,000 members mark.  Well, I am very happy to announce that it happened during the holidays, and the lucky person is Charlie Tsai from Taiwan.  Charlie is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the National Central University in Taiwan where he teaches the "Biomedical Signal Processing" class.  He is also the advisor of the

Almost 50,000 Members!

Stephane Boucher November 26, 20091 comment

I am very happy to announce that will reach the 50,000 registered members mark before the end of 2009. To celebrate this milestone, I will buy a BMW 5 to the 50,000th person to register (please make sure to confirm you email address to activate your registration).  Please read the fine prints after the picture.

I am just having fun here and it's not even April's fool day.  The 50,000th member won't get a BMW (I wish I could offer it!),...

DSPRelated faster than ever!

Stephane Boucher March 2, 20094 comments

if you are visiting on a regular basis, you should observe that the site loads significantly faster in your browser than it used to, especially if you are in Europe or in Asia.  The main reason for this is that I am now using Amazon's CloudFront service for the delivery of most static content on (images, javascripts, css).   The cloudFront service automatically detects the location of a visitor and will deliver the static content from the server...

New Papers / Theses Section

Stephane Boucher March 21, 20081 comment

The new 'Papers & Theses' section is now online: idea is to list and organize in one place as many DSP related dissertations (PhD & Masters) and papers/articles as possible.If you are the author of a thesis or paper and would like to have it listed on, please follow these steps:- Make sure that you are allowed to share the document online (copyright).- If you don't already have one, make a 'pdf' copy of your document. ...

New Blog Section!

Stephane Boucher September 19, 20072 comments

By now, chances are you have noticed the new blogs section (you are actually in it right now!).

Following an email I sent to the members of the site, a few weeks ago, asking for dsp engineers willing to blog here, I received around 50 propositions. I have selected an initial set of 10 bloggers (that I will soon introduce into a seperate post) and I am currently in the process of creating their accounts. Markus and Parth have already...

New Discussion Group: DSP & FPGA

Stephane Boucher September 11, 20078 comments

I have just created a new discussion group for engineers implementing DSP functions on FPGAs. The creation of this group has been on my todo list for a long time. If you want to join the group, send a blank email to:

As usual, it should take a few weeks before there are enough members for interesting discussions to get started.