Friday, May 3, 2013

How QUARC Helps Professors Advance Their Research

What is the key advantage that professors get from using QUARC® rapid control prototyping software in their research? It’s simple - speed. QUARC allows them to accelerate design and achieve their research goals in much less time, whether they’re working in haptics, robotics, unmannedvehicles or other related areas.

The fact is QUARC seamlessly integrates with Simulink® and takes the traditional design-to-implementation interface toolset to new levels. As a result, researchers experience more functionality and more development flexibility, all geared towards improved real-time testing and performance.

All around the world, academic researchers are using QUARC to quickly turn ideas into prototypes, saving themselves months, and in some cases years, of development time. In today’s time and budget-constrained academic research environment, that’s an advantage of major proportions.

Read on and learn how some professors are advancing their research at a rapid pace by using QUARC. 

Design complex control processes with ease
“We develop control algorithms for a rehabilitation robot designed and manufactured by Quanser. The device is designed to help stroke survivors perform upper limb movement therapy exercises. We are especially interested in using robotically-captured records of patients’ motions to accurately measure their motor performance, enabling clinicians to design optimal therapy interventions that will help maximize recovery.
Using QUARC, University of Alberta researcher Matthew Dyck was able to quickly develop control algorithms for a rehabilitation robot designed to help  stroke survivors perform upper limb movement therapy exercises.  (Photo courtesy of University of Alberta)
Our robot and its associated sensors are programmed, monitored, and controlled entirely through QUARC. QUARC makes it possible for us to design complex control solutions with ease, and enables us to fine-tune those algorithms in real time as they are implemented on physical hardware.

QUARC rapidly accelerates the process of translating an idea into a tangible, functioning prototype. Through its high-level programming environment, QUARC enables engineers to focus on designing innovative solutions rather than troubleshooting programming errors. QUARC’s advanced functionalities have both simplified and supercharged our real-time, hardware-in-the-loop programming and offline simulations.” 
- Matthew Dyck, E.I.T., M.Sc. Student, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta, Canada

A tremendous help for research in distributed sensing systems
“QUARC's support of TCP/IP has been a tremendous help for our research. It allowed us to develop a distributed sensing system that isn't dependent on expensive I/O hardware or DAQ boards. Further, this allows for safety-critical redundancy when we are doing vehicle control tests.”
- Professor Sean Brennan, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Penn State University, USA

Flexibility and ease of development in autonomous flight systems research
“We are using the Quanser Qball to conduct research into a number of areas. First, we are looking at designing cooperative flight and sightline controllers for practical laser wireless power transfer. We are building a laser transceiver to mount on the Qball and a ground-based laser pointer. Another area is using the Qball to demonstrate the effectiveness of nonlinear flight stabilization controllers for constrained flight in atmospheric turbulence. We chose Quanser for our lab for a number of reasons, but primarily because of the flexibility and ease of development provided by QUARC.”
- Professor David Anderson, MAST Lab and Aerospace Science Research Division, University of Glasgow, UK

Gather information quickly
“The computational speed and the communication speed between the Quanser Q8 data acquisition board and the QUARC environment is excellent, and completely fulfilled our needs. So we were able to gather information quickly, learn what worked and didn't work, then implement the necessary rapid design changes to the controller.”
- Professor Marcia O’Malley, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Rice University, USA

Faster development and a clearer control sequence
“Our lab is developing haptic devices and VR systems. Conventionally, we use VC++ and OpenGL to develop the control system and the visual interface. With Q8 and QUARC, I can now do the same thing faster and the control sequence is much clearer than before.”
- Yi Yang, Ph.D Student, Human Machine Interaction & Robotics, Beihang University, China

Students can implement new algorithms quickly
“QUARC interfaces very easily with Simulink. It's excellent in terms of rapid prototyping and it's also very good in terms of research work where you have students working through Simulink. It forces students to be in some ways better programmers than they are. Let's face it, some mechanical engineers don't necessarily like writing code, but now they have this ability to generate real time code by basically developing a Simulink model and then compiling it into real time code. Students can also implement new algorithms fast because they do not need to develop their own haptic system, but only to integrate additional blocks into an existing Simulink model. That certainly makes life much easier.”
- Professor Daniela Constaninescu, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Victoria, Canada

If we had been aware of QUARC when we began, we could have saved two years
“QUARC has made our programming faster and more robust. More importantly, it allowed us to move forward quickly by unifying our old and new programming platforms.”

“By understanding two different programming languages, QUARC helped us to prototype the system and produced a working simulation very, very quickly. In one week we installed QUARC, took the interactive tutorial available online from Quanser and used QUARC successfully to do rapid prototyping of the experiment. It just worked as we intended it to. We did high level programming of the robot's vision-based controller very quickly and accurately. If we had been aware of QUARC when we began this assistive robotic project, it would have sped up our work a great deal. We could have saved two years.”
- Professor Aman Behal, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Central Florida, USA

To find out how a wide range of blocksets in QUARC 2.3 are tailored for researchers, click here.

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