Blasts from the past & cutting edge control equipment all on the same day!

I got to revisit my old university stomping ground last week when I manned the Adept Scientific/Quanser stand at the 2014 UKACC Conference on Control at the University of Loughborough. It was a great opportunity to meet up with old lecturers, visit old haunts and see how things have advanced on campus, while making brand new connections with customers and contacts in the world of system control.

Visitors and exhibitors alike were keen to catch a glimpse of the latest control technology, and we put on a great show for them with our range of Quanser systems set up and running on our stand. These included the ultra-effective QUBE device, impressive Active Suspension System and the Ball and Beam module for the Rotary Servo Base Unit.

I also sat in on National Instruments’ instructional free workshop session during which PHD students got to try their hand at building a control system using Quanser’s Inverted Rotary Pendulum and NI’s CompactRIO controller.

Looking forward to UKACC 2016 which will be held at the Queen’s University, Belfast.

Why skydivers can’t just wing it!

Contrary to belief, there’s more to skydiving than just jumping out of a plane. Simply by moving your head, your arms or legs, you can dramatically affect your trajectory. Changes in pressure, resistance and turbulence will also alter your downward path through the air. This was the topic of exploration for students taking part in an Adept Scientific workshop during an Engineering Festival held at IWM Duxford last month. This unique regional event, which attracted over 500 students, was organised by STEM Team East to promote engineering and inspire young people to study science and maths at schools, as well as pursue careers in these areas.

During the workshop, students modelled the trajectory of a wingsuit-wearing skydiver and then explored the different sources of instability and aspects that might change the divers aerodynamics. They then used the Quanser QUBE-Servo to demonstrate that instability and show how you might use control theory to counter its effects. The assumption is that skydivers who have a better understanding of the different forces acting upon them are able to achieve a more controlled descent.

This popular workshop was just one of a range of practical activities on the day that gave students the chance to work with qualified engineers to solve engineering challenges and gain ‘on-the-job’ experience.

Find out more about this year’s event

Introducing Quanser’s QUBE-Servo – compact control equipment that squares better with tight budgets

Price is often the sticking point that stops engineering departments from being able to kit out their control labs with quality equipment capable of clarifying introductory control concepts and meeting their teaching requirements. So it’s a good job Quanser have launched a new low-cost, self-contained servomotor teaching platform that comes ready to go with fully integrated components, two quick-connect add-on modules (DC Motor and Inverted Pendulum) plus modular, topic-orientated digital courseware that cuts class prep-time and easily adapts to specific courses. Thanks to the new QUBE-Servo, you can build a world-class control lab for less!

Visit our QUBE-Servo web pages or download the latest datasheet to find out more. Contact your nearest Adept office for up-to-date information about pricing and availability.


Crowd-pleasing control hardware in action at NIDay 2012

If you didn’t make it to National Instruments Graphical System Design Conference on 20th November in London, then you missed out on a great event packed with presentations, interactive sessions taught by NI experts, hands-on workshops, and exhibitions of the latest advancements in design, control and test. In the Academic Zone, Adept and Quanser welcomed many new and familiar faces to their stand and had great fun engaging and impressing visitors by inviting them to take control of the 2 DOF Helicopter experiment. Quanser experts also ran several well-attended hour-long hands-on technical sessions that demonstrated how to design and implement control algorithms using LabVIEW.

Adept’s own Quanser Product Manager, Lilly Northrop, was also excited to hear about some interesting projects and new 21st Century system design technologies from NI outlined during the keynote addresses from President, CEO and Cofounder of NI, Dr. James Truchard and guest speaker Dr. Robert Mullins, Co-Founder and Trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

See what you missed at the recent NI Day and download free presentations from NIDays2012.

I, Quanser

We live in a world where technology is slowly taking over (well, it feels like it sometimes) and I find myself wondering what the future holds. Are we all going to wake up one day and find ourselves in an I, Robot existence? Or are we forever destined to reach for those robot shaped stars?

I watched a film recently which is basically about a group of rag dolls who find themselves in a post-apocalyptic world fighting against a giant evil machine. The film is much better than I make it sound and I am going somewhere with this, trust me. Turns out the giant evil machine was created in order to create other machines to protect the human race and had been designed to be super intelligent (I’m sure it would be able to make tea and wash dishes too) but ended up making fellow evil machines that wiped out the human race instead (woops!). In short, the moral of the story was that although the evil genius machine could build anything it wanted, it could never have a soul.

Believe it or not, this got me thinking about future technology (see the link there…no? It’s definitely there, wait for it…). Now although I’m fairly certain that we won’t end up in a post-apocalyptic world having been wiped out by evil machines, or at least I hope not, I do wonder how far we will push the limits. Like so many things in this world, one cannot exist without another. Move over chicken and egg, humans and Artificial Intelligence is the new dilemma! We are the creators, the developers, the designers of all things AI, but can they survive without us? Will machines ever be intelligent enough to evolve without people?

As much as I would like to think I will live forever and be around to see where all this technology is going, I will have to leave that to the engineers of the future. This doesn’t mean we can just sit back and relax and let the next generation take care of things though; it is our job to build the foundations. We are already seeing AI in the news in the form of robots playing football, giving health advice, and autonomous vehicles providing vital support out in the field, and it amazes me to look back on how far we have come in the past 10 years – imagine how far the next 10 will take us!

With this in mind, we need to prepare. Not in a post-apocalyptic manner by buying too many canned goods and moving into our basements, but in the sense that we need to educate and inspire the minds of tomorrow. With the increasing pressure to bring up the numbers of engineering graduates, and especially those with experience, we need to offer more than just theory. We need them to apply this theory, make decisions, and design their own experiments and procedures. They need to be graduating not only with their degree certificates in hand, but with hands-on experience they can apply to the real world.

From Undergraduate teaching to Postgraduate research projects, the need for exciting, interesting and applicable labs is essential, and when I started at Adept Scientific and was introduced to the world of Quanser and their teaching and research lab solutions, I wished I was back at University! From teaching control with the SRV-02 servo plants combined with their range of rotary experiments, exploring the capabilities of unmanned vehicle systems to researching the effects of earthquakes on structures, Quanser has a solution, and as someone lucky enough to have gotten my hands on some of these systems, I can tell you first hand….they are inspirational!

Overseas Visitors

We’ve had a busy week with Martin Lord from Quanser who was over for meetings with us with the Mathworks, National Instruments and some of our customers.   Quanser make really robust control experiment components.  As a graduate of Meccano in my youth, long long ago, and more recently experimenting with Lego Technic I am fascinated by the Quanser products.   They are fun gadgets as well as being great learning tools.  It’s hard to describe the many different experiments but easy to see how cool these bits of kit are if you take a look at the videos on our site . You can see them in action at  It’s much more fun to play with them though so if you’re into teaching or learning about control systems come along to one of our Quanser hands on days.

For the time being we are unable to offer the following product ranges although we are currently working hard to increase the number of products we can offer in the future. Please contact us to talk about alternative products that we may be able to offer you.