Wednesday, October 21, 2009

QUARC: Third-Party Device Support

In addition to being able to access hardware via Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) cards by using the familiar Simulink environment, as described in previous blog post, QuaRC also allows users to interact directly with third-party devices in a real-time fashion.

QUARC supports a wide variety of third-party-vendor devices, which can be categorized essentially into 3 main device families:

  1. Sensors & Human Interface Devices (HIDs)

  2. Haptic input devices

  3. Robot arms

This support goes above and beyond Quanser’s very own devices as well as the standard PC peripherals, like keyboards, mice, game controllers (i.e., joysticks), or force-feedback game controllers, that QUAC also supports.

Also the nature of the interface used by any one of the QUARC-supported devices to connect to a QUARC target system (e.g., Windows 32-bit PC, QNX PC, Linux Gumstix Verdex) is almost as diverse as the types of devices supported. The interfaces used include, but are not limited to, USB, FireWire (IEEE 1394), serial (e.g., RS-232, TTL, SPI), PS2, and network (e.g., TCP/IP, UDP, ARCNET, bluetooth).

We are often asked what the actual devices currently supported by QUARC exactly are. Even though this list is continuously growing, the following summarizes the third-party devices to which Simulink-compatible blocks are offered by our upcoming version of QUARC, QUARC 2.0.

However, a device supported under one QuaRC target (e.g., 32-bit Windows) might not be supported for another QuaRC target (e.g., Linux), due to, for example, connectivity or third-party driver compatibility issues. Any QuaRC target restriction is specified in-between square brackets below.

QUARC 2.0 supports the following sensors and Human Interface Devices (HIDs).

QUARC 2.0 also supports the following haptic (i.e., position sensing and force feedback) input devices.

QUARC supports the following multiple-DOF serial robot arms and robotic devices as well. By doing so, QUARC makes these robots Open Architecture (OA), which is to say that their Cartesian or joint position or rate commands can be individually set, as configured in your Simulink diagram, together with any customized advanced robotic control schemes.

QUARC is designed to meet the continually-increasing demand for interactive systems. For example, the power of QUARC is really harnessed when users easily couple one of its supported haptic input devices to one of its supported robot arms and quickly setup, in a Simulink diagram, a fully customizable teleoperation system.

Please stay tuned for announcements on additional third-party device support as well as for added QUARC support for Quanser’s very own new and exciting products, like the novel Quanser USB-Qbit and QPID boards.

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