Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shake it II, Shake it III

Ever wonder what an earthquake would do to buildings or bridges? Civil engineering students around the world are using Quanser's earthquake simulators to learn hands-on how to minimize the effects of disasters. With Shake Tables II and III students can study structural dynamics and test their own structures against the real earthquake tremors.

Shake Table II video

Shake Table III video

Monday, September 15, 2008

Funding Tips

In our experience, there are three things you should know if you want to increase your chances of winning funding:
  1. Find a fit: Align your proposal with the requirements of the program.
  2. Ask questions: Get in touch with the people in charge of your program (see list below)
  3. Learn from experience: Speak to other professors who have won funding in the past to understand what worked!
There are over 1,000 great programs for teaching and research initiatives in the U.S. and Canada. Here's a short list to steer you in the right direction.

Share your tips with us!

Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEI)

This program assists predominantly minority institutions in effecting long-range improvement in science and engineering education programs and increasing the flow of underrepresented ethnic minorities, particularly minority women, into science and engineering careers. New initiatives focus on outreach and hands-on experimental-based learning projects.

Bernadette Hence
Phone: (202) 219-7038

NSF’s Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) - full proposal deadline: January 12, 2009

The Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program seeks to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for all undergraduate students.

Program Directors:
Engineering: Russell L. Pimmel (703) 292-4618, Sheryl A. Sorby (703) 292-4647

Research/Assessment: Myles G. Boylan (703) 292-4617, Russell L. Pimmel (703) 292-4618
Interdisciplinary: Herbert H. Richtol (703) 292-4648
Computer Science:
Stephen C. Cooper (703) 292-4645
Geological Sciences: Jill K. Singer (703) 292-5323
Biological Sciences: Terry S. Woodin (703) 292-4657
istry: Susan H. Hixson (703) 292-4623
Daniel P. Maki (703) 292-4620
Physics/Astronomy: Warren W. Hein (703) 292-4644

Check also publication from The American Association for the Advancement of Science: Invention and Impact: Building Excellence in Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education. CCLI meeting participant and those have completed the CCLI survey are entitled to a free complimentary copy

NSF’s Control Systems Program

The CS program supports innovative research on control theory and control technology driven by real life applications.

Program Director:

Jayasuriya Suhada (703) 292-7014
is your source to find and apply for many more federal government grants. With information on over 1,000 grant programs, it provides access to approximately $400 billion in annual awards.

You can apply for NSF grants and DoD (U.S. Department of Defense) grants through this website.

Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada in 1997 to fund research infrastructure.

Search the online database of all projects that received CFI funding at:

Ontario Centres of Excellence - Collaborative Research

The Collaborative Research Initiative is designed to promote and harness innovative research partnerships between industry and Ontario universities, colleges and research hospitals.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Check the Grant Programs Overview to learn about various collaborative research grant options.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Omni in Action

The clip below shows a "Teach Pendant" exercise: the Omni robot is taught a set of discrete points. During playback motion, the robot traverses each of the taught points.

To be able to "learn", the robot is programmed in a three-steps process. The first step involves creating a routine to teach the points to the robot, followed by creating a desired path between those points the robot should follow. The final step is to create a routine to control the robot along that path.

Quanser's Button Contest at NIWeek 2008

At NIWeek 2008 we held the popular button contest again! The task was to get one of 3 buttons with Captivate - Motivate - Graduate more students message, and then find 2 people wearing a different button from yours. All three people had to return to Quanser booth to be entered in a draw for three iPod shuffle players. The lucky trio comes from Universidad Politecnica Salesiana in Ecuador: Patricio Diaz, Henry Moyano and Fredy Rivera Colle. Congratulations! Can you find your colleagues here?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Out of this World

With the help of The Mathwork's Matlab - Simulink and Quanser's QuaRC® real-time control development software, the Canadian Space Agency's (CSA) is expanding its space robotics development.

Having built a good reputation on the nano-satellite project, Quanser was approached by the CSA's Space Robotics group in search for a base platform for their next robotics program. The Space Robotics group was looking for a very specific high -performance system to allow for unhindered research concerning a
variety space robotic applications:
  • at least 6 degrees of freedom
  • payload capacity
  • performance flexibility

Following discussions with Quanser's engineering team, a decision was made to use Mitsubishi's PA-10 system (pictured here). However, CSA's Space Robotics group needed the system to be "open architecture" and tasked Quanser with the development.

Quanser then collaborated with both Mitsubishi, the robot supplier and the CSA. Using Matlab-Simulink Quanser developed the models, controller and safety functions of the PA-10 for support under Quanser's real-time control development software: QuaRC.

The CSA plans to begin work on the new platform in October 2008.

Drop us a comment! Tell us about your project using Matlab-Simulink!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

WiiMote Challenge at UK ACC Conference

When we say "Control Conference" you probably imagine a lot of equations and theory. Well, this time add some hand-eye coordination too - you definitely needed them at UK ACC Control 2008 Conference in Manchester (Sept. 2 - 4). The task in our challenge was to swing up the Inverted Pendulum using a WiiMote. All who took the challenge where entered in a draw for a prize - Sony Digital Voice Recorder. The lucky winner? Dai Xuewu (pictured below) from the University of Manchester. Congratulations!

What else was there to see at the UK ACC? Displayed Quanser NI Engineering Trainers (QNETs) for junior undergrad students, 2DOF Helicopter, Omni workstation and autonomous robot Qbot for senior undergrads and Laser Beam Stabilization (LBS) for graduate projects and research represent only a fraction of solutions Quanser can offer you!