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Ultima modificación de "DSP": 26/12/07

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DSP - Digital Signal Processor (Procesador digital de señal).

Es una unidad de procesamiento, con arquitectura tipo PC, optimizada para realizar operaciones de 24 o 32 bits en coma flotante en señales discretas de audio digital. Esto permite realizar Transformadas rápidas de Fourer (FFT), un algoritmo para calcular la Transformada de Fourier Discreta (DFT), que convierte del dominio del tiempo al de la frecuencia y puede analizar realizar y otro tipo de operaciones complejas, en tiempo real, ajustar repuesta de frecuencia, generar reverberación y otros efectos, y separar ciertas bandas de frecuencias en canales separados. Hacer este procesamiento de manera digital resulta más sencillo y económico que hacerlo de manera analógica.

Prácticamente todos los receptores de Cine en Casa actuales incorporan DSPs para generar sonido multicanal envolvente desde fuentes estéreo.

What is DSP?
DSP, or Digital Signal Processing, as the term suggests, is the processing of signals by digital means. A signal in this context can mean a number of different things. Historically the origins of signal processing are in electrical engineering, and a signal here means an electrical signal carried by a wire or telephone line, or perhaps by a radio wave. More generally, however, a signal is a stream of information representing anything from stock prices to data from a remote-sensing satellite. The term "digital" comes from "digit", meaning a number (you count with your fingers - your digits), so "digital" literally means numerical; the French word for digital is numerique. A digital signal consists of a stream of numbers, usually (but not necessarily) in binary form. The processing of a digital signal is done by performing numerical calculations.

Analog and digital signals
In many cases, the signal of interest is initially in the form of an analog electrical voltage or current, produced for example by a microphone or some other type of transducer. In some situations, such as the output from the readout system of a CD (compact disc) player, the data is already in digital form. An analog signal must be converted into digital form before DSP techniques can be applied. An analog electrical voltage signal, for example, can be digitised using an electronic circuit called an analog-to-digital converter or ADC. This generates a digital output as a stream of binary numbers whose values represent the electrical voltage input to the device at each sampling instant.

Signal processing
Signals commonly need to be processed in a variety of ways. For example, the output signal from a transducer may well be contaminated with unwanted electrical "noise". The electrodes attached to a patient's chest when an ECG is taken measure tiny electrical voltage changes due to the activity of the heart and other muscles. The signal is often strongly affected by "mains pickup" due to electrical interference from the mains supply. Processing the signal using a filter circuit can remove or at least reduce the unwanted part of the signal. Increasingly nowadays, the filtering of signals to improve signal quality or to extract important information is done by DSP techniques rather than by analog electronics.

Development of DSP
The development of digital signal processing dates from the 1960's with the use of mainframe digital computers for number-crunching applications such as the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), which allows the frequency spectrum of a signal to be computed rapidly. These techniques were not widely used at that time, because suitable computing equipment was generally available only in universities and other scientific research institutions.

Digital Signal Processors (DSPs)
The introduction of the microprocessor in the late 1970's and early 1980's made it possible for DSP techniques to be used in a much wider range of applications. However, general-purpose microprocessors such as the Intel x86 family are not ideally suited to the numerically-intensive requirements of DSP, and during the 1980's the increasing importance of DSP led several major electronics manufacturers (such as Texas Instruments, Analog Devices and Motorola) to develop Digital Signal Processor chips - specialised microprocessors with architectures designed specifically for the types of operations required in digital signal processing. (Note that the acronym DSP can variously mean Digital Signal Processing, the term used for a wide range of techniques for processing signals digitally, or Digital Signal Processor, a specialised type of microprocessor chip). Like a general-purpose microprocessor, a DSP is a programmable device, with its own native instruction code. DSP chips are capable of carrying out millions of floating point operations per second, and like their better-known general-purpose cousins, faster and more powerful versions are continually being introduced. DSPs can also be embedded within complex "system-on-chip" devices, often containing both analog and digital circuitry.

Applications of DSP
DSP technology is nowadays commonplace in such devices as mobile phones, multimedia computers, video recorders, CD players, hard disc drive controllers and modems, and will soon replace analog circuitry in TV sets and telephones. An important application of DSP is in signal compression and decompression. Signal compression is used in digital cellular phones to allow a greater number of calls to be handled simultaneously within each local "cell". DSP signal compression technology allows people not only to talk to one another but also to see one another on their computer screens, using small video cameras mounted on the computer monitors, with only a conventional telephone line linking them together. In audio CD systems, DSP technology is used to perform complex error detection and correction on the raw data as it is read from the CD.

Although some of the mathematical theory underlying DSP techniques, such as Fourier and Hilbert Transforms, digital filter design and signal compression, can be fairly complex, the numerical operations required actually to implement these techniques are very simple, consisting mainly of operations that could be done on a cheap four-function calculator. The architecture of a DSP chip is designed to carry out such operations incredibly fast, processing hundreds of millions of samples every second, to provide real-time performance: that is, the ability to process a signal "live" as it is sampled and then output the processed signal, for example to a loudspeaker or video display. All of the practical examples of DSP applications mentioned earlier, such as hard disc drives and mobile phones, demand real-time operation.

The major electronics manufacturers have invested heavily in DSP technology. Because they now find application in mass-market products, DSP chips account for a substantial proportion of the world market for electronic devices. Sales amount to billions of dollars annually, and seem likely to continue to increase rapidly.
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