Over on YouTube user Guilherme Dattoli Cirigliano Cortes has uploaded a video showing his use of the RTL-SDR in some MATLAB based cognitive radio experiments. Cognitive radio is a upcoming technology which aims to increase radio spectrum use efficiency by finding and using the intermittent periods of unoccupied frequency space.
The uploader explains his task below.
The fundamental task of each Cognitive Radio (CR) user in CR networks, in the most primitive sense is to detect the licenced users, also known as primary users, if they are present and identify the available spectrum if they are absent. This is usually achieved by sensing the RF environment, a process called spectrum sensing. Here we use one of the technique of spectrum sensing called energy detection.