Red Pitaya – a USB-connected analog lab instrumentation

Starting at 200 EUR (about 220 USD ATM) you can get yourself this nice thing. It’s a small Xilinx-Zynq 7010 based board with four analog I/O jacks.

Photos, technical data and some German distributors for it here:

The Zynq chip contains a dual core ARM 9 (this is an ARM architecture that already has floating point capability and a high performance floating point vector unit called NEON); plus 28,000 programmable FPGA cells AND I think 256 DSP slices within that sea of gates so it’s a supercomputer on a chip. To use all of this, there’s Open Source software, turning it for instance into an oscilloscope front end for your PC or into a function generator.

Personally I’m keen on using it as a realtime Audio device programmable in C++ as I had some programming experience with Zynq-based projects; and love the idea of having an audio device undisturbed by the needs of an operating system. I did toy with self-written and downloaded audio synthesis software on Windows and Android and, well, the latency is horrific – my Samsung Note 2 I think SEVEN! TY! FIVE! MILLI! SECONDS!!!. Nice phone really but unusable for live music playing! Operating Systems sometimes just get in the way.

The Red Pitaya is a bit more expensive than a Raspberry Pi but very powerful. So, noteworthy product. And, it really looks like one:

(And, I’d like to add, I once ate a Red Pitaya – the fruit, not the board – and it really doesn’t taste as exciting as it looks; and it’s really expensive in Germany, 2.50 EUR or so, but, should prices come down to a Euro or so¬† I’d be a fan in a heartbeat. A bit Kiwi-ish but not as sour.)

Update March 02nd: The Red Pitaya contains the smallest Zynq 7000, the 7010; which has only 80 DSP slices. Doesn’t change my interest in it. Here’s a competing eval board and a bit more data about the 7010:





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