Open Source Ultrasound Arduino
May 10, 2022
Non-destructive testing and imaging ultrasounds have been around since the ’50s. Many ultrasound open-source projects are emerging, mostly focusing on image processing - while hardware has been left behind. Open, accessible, and affordable designs, in short, arduinos for NDT and medical ultrasounds, are rare.
Two boards, based on open-source FPGAs, have been designed with cost-efficiency, size optimization, and having the lightest BOM. The lit3rick and un0rick boards provide a simple assembly of the different blocks that constitute an ultrasound pulse-echo system. There are also a couple of IOs, and some space for a Raspberry header - so it is possible to use with your favorite card-sized computer, but also with any device with an available SPI bus.
These boards are also open-hardware certified, under IDs FR000005 and FR000016, with source files for software, hardware, and gateway. Thanks to this, the user gets full control of the board, using the IceStorm toolchain in particular to have your own FPGA embedded software.
The designs offer the possibility to generate high voltage pulses, amplify weak signals (up to 92dB!), and acquire signals at high speed, between 40Msps to 128Msps.
Even when not exploring ultrasounds, the boards provide users a dev board for Lattice FPGAs, connected to a fast ADC. Still, the board provides them with connections to IOs and different buses (including UART, I2S, I2C, and SPI).