Building your dream lab with Quanser and Adept
Quanser Product Manager
Read why Quanser's Rotary Servo family of control modules and experiments offer engineering departments the perfect elements to create their ideal lab simply, effectively and incrementally.
Today’s engineering systems are highly complex but the typical university curriculum in engineering is often encumbered by mid twentieth century convention. For many university teachers, a significant part of the answer is better, richer hands-on education, and the undergraduate laboratory is one of the most important targets of their attention. Quanser and Adept have been collaborating with leading engineering universities to bring new life and relevance to the modern engineering lab.
Quanser systems are more than high-performance devices. They are designed to support a pragmatic strategy of hands-on education innovation. At the core of this is Quanser’s well-earned reputation for delivering flexible, cost-effective solutions through modular design of its product.
The modularity of the Rotary Servo product line is a great example of how a sound design can drive effective educational strategy. By adding one of ten unique add-on modules to the base servo motor, lecturers can extend the reach of their labs well beyond the traditional experiments. Students can explore the complexities of flexible beams, or gyroscopic effects, or the dynamics of a multi-DOF system, and so much more. Overall, the design makes it easy to increase the number of stations while exponentially increasing the range of exercises and even courses through the add-on modules. In all, this is a highly cost-effective framework for an institution’s lab road map.
For Quanser, however, modularity is more than add-on hardware components. Recently, at the annual Conference of the American Society of Engineering Education in San Antonio, Texas, the company demonstrated a unique application of the Rotary Servo system. Called the Quanser Driving Simulator (QDS), this demonstration presented the concept of a detailed automotive application layer via the QUARC software and its standard library of 3D visualisation tools.
The concept, on the surface is, “a video game on steroids”, as Quanser Chief Education Officer, Dr. Tom Lee, notes. “But there is a profound difference”, he adds. Lee describes how the servo motors have been programmed to represent the speed and position control of a real car. Through software, these motors are then connected to a model of the vehicle dynamics, a racetrack and a driver model.
In essence this is a true Hardware in the Loop (HIL) automotive control system.
The control theory runs through all of these components and the actual relevance of very theoretical concepts becomes clear and intuitive. Additionally, that video game aspect can increase student motivation as it adds a very familiar and often fun dimension to a lab, all from out-of-the-box components and readily accessible accessories.
In many ways, the QDS begins pointing to the proverbial dream lab. It combines accessible hardware with meaningful applications and it illustrates the modular, expandable approach extending into the software aspects within the context of the rotary product line. Beyond the rotary product line, however, is the potential growth via Quanser’s extended line of products that reaches into some of the most exciting and important application areas.
The Shake Table series for earthquake simulation, the Helicopter series for aerospace applications, or haptic experiments for biomedical applications, are examples of Quanser products that can bring a teaching lab, literally, to state of the art over night. Additionally, these advanced devices are fully capable of supporting advanced research, further increasing the benefits to the institution.
The Quanser dream lab is fully realised by accessing all the necessary accessories and utilities - DAQ, power supplies, courseware, system models and more. Quanser fundamentally believes that the best labs are ones that are easy to deploy, maintain and readily scale, giving instructors and students the time to do what they do best – creatively explore complex concepts.
Download Quanser's latest 26-page 2013 brochure to explore the full range of modular, mix-and-match control experiments for teaching and research, or visit the Quanser home page.
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