Unlike the more scholarly engineering conferences, NI Week is unabashedly festive in tone. Yes, there are plenty of technical sessions where attendees get updates on the latest esoteric tips and tricks on data acquisition. But the true highlights of the conference often erupt during the plenary sessions or even on the exhibits floor. There people have a chance to congregate and channel their “inner Thomas Edison” in a single location. Quite often, magic seems to happen.
|Control visionary Dr. Mark Spong drops by the Quanser Booth during NIWEEK 2012.|
This year we showcased several important milestones. The most strategic was the announcement and demonstration of two new exciting products: the Quanser Q1-cRIO DAQ module for the NI Compact RIO platform, and the Quanser Rapid Control Prototyping (RCP) Toolkit software for LabVIEW™. Collectively these products streamline the deployment of even the most ambitious control systems application a lot easier. In their respective ways, these two new products take care of a lot of the cumbersome wiring and I/O software housekeeping that curse most users.
|The Quanser Q1-cRIO DAQ module for the NI CompactRIO platform ensures simpler interfacing and faster connectivity. They help students work more efficiently |
and focus on learning.
cRIO and LabVIEW have always been excellent tools for a wide range of control systems work but the Q1-cRIO and RCP Toolkit make the NI platform truly complete. In many ways, the combination of NI’s traditional DAQ and instrumentation product line and Quanser’s control-centric product line collectively comprise a market-leading, end-to-end solution for modern control systems education and research.
|Above: a closed loop controller developed with the Quanser RCP Toolkit. |
This clear visualization bridges the gap between theory and practice and
helps students grasp concepts better.
The tech conference keynote … we’ve all seen iconic footage of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates standing atop a big stage, and with great fanfare, usher in a new vision of one thing or another with huge hyperbolic promises and a jaw-dropping demo. I wasn’t exactly Steve or Bill unfortunately… I look terrible in a turtleneck, and our demo actually worked… but it’s about as close to that as I have ever been. Ably assisted by Quanser “demo jock” Peter Martin, we did our best techno-samba on stage.
NI President, CEO and Co-founder Dr. James Truchard experiences the Quanser Driving Simulator for himself. Next to him is Quanser Chief Technology Officer and Founder Dr. Jacob Apkarian.
The Quanser message was in many ways a profound statement of what can be done in education with some cleverness and the right tools. The QDS pedagogy introduces a dynamic, motivating application layer persistently through all of the labs in a given course sequence. In this sense, it’s easier for students to relate abstract concepts to the real world and to connect ideas to each other. As an added bonus, the QDS introduces students to the critically important techniques of Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) testing, which have revolutionized modern advanced industry. Unfortunately, as important as HIL is, the conventional curriculum has yet to reconcile the new with the old. QDS offers an efficient path to achieving this.
In 2009, while I was still with Maplesoft, I had the pleasure to be on stage in Austin (ASEE was held there that year), with the then-young Keith Blanchet, Quanser’s Director of Business Development. That was the first time that I had collaborated on a presentation with this weird company called Quanser. You can read the account here.
|A well-seasoned Keith Blanchet impresses some young engineers|
with his technological and educational wisdom.
- Tom Lee
As Chief Education Officer at Quanser, Tom Lee is focused on spearheading the development of Quanser's global academic community. He is closely involved with Quanser's technology and solution development process and the company's partner and alliance programs. He holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, and an MASc and BASc in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo.