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.
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.
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.
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!
Quanser is committed to providing practical, hands-on control learning tools, so when we set up the Adept/Quanser stand at this year’s UKACC International Conference on Control, we didn’t just want to offer the standard literature and brochures. We made sure our display stood out and gave visitors real-life working experiments to get their hands on, including Quanser’s Rotary Inverted Pendulum and Active Suspension system for teaching and research.
You can see the Inverted Pendulum in action at the event by viewing our short video here:
The 3-day conference brought together key contacts involved in teaching or researching engineering control. It offered a unique forum for sharing findings, comparing notes and networking with peers about new ways to enrich learning or advance research projects.
According to delegates, not surprisingly, the biggest issue among the academic and research community is lack of funding. They said, it’s easy to see the teaching merits of hands-on equipment, but blatant benefits won’t magic up extra money! Even if different departments join forces (and funds) with a view to creating multi-disciplinary control labs, not all equipment is flexible enough to work across curriculums, for students and researchers alike.
This is where Quanser’s building block approach comes into its own. Quanser’s family of modular Rotary Servo experiments allows professors to build their lab in stages, buying new equipment as and when funding is available. With over 30 labs to choose from, teachers can mix and match components to gain a multi-tasking facility capable of demonstrating control concepts from the most fundamental to the most advanced. What’s more Quanser hardware is future-proof, which means inevitable software upgrades won’t result in redundancy and replacement of your equipment. The inclusion of read-made curriculums with every experiment caused keen interest among time-pressed teachers looking for guidance and support to accelerate and simplify course planning.
It was great to see that Quanser’s offering fits perfectly with the needs and challenges control teachers and researchers face today.
On Thursday 14th June, our maths, simulation and control product specialists took part in a STEM Fair at Imperial War Museum, Duxford. This hands-on activity event invited over 300 secondary school and A-level students to take part in a range of practical workshops led by scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians from well known organisations such as Napp Pharmaceuticals, Mott MacDonald, Marshall Engineering, The Royal Navy, The Army and many more. Workshops covered a range of topics from robot racing and spectroscopy in a suitcase, to crane building and vehicle aerodynamics. Over the course of the day, students gained invaluable work-related learning (seeing how STEM subjects apply to the real world) and career guidance (understanding what doors STEM learning opens).
Adept’s team ran a series of mathematical modelling and control workshops, where students got to see Quanser’s Inverted Pendulum experiment in action (view a movie of the working pendulum here), then model the complete system using graphical components in MapleSim multi-domain modelling software and design a control loop that maintains the pendulum upright. Our mission was to get students excited about the endless possibilities today’s cutting-edge technical software and hardware can offer. This experiment never fails to impress and students left the workshop engaged and enthused by their practical application of physics and control theories.
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.