Monday, October 28, 2013

Quanser-NI Platform for Controls Demonstrated at NIDays Boston, November 5

We would like to invite you to join Quanser at the inaugural NIDays 2013 in Boston on November 5.

The full-featured technical conference is designed for research and academic engineers interested in aerospace and defense applications. It gives you an opportunity to learn about the latest technologies, best practices and trends for designing test, measurement and embedded systems.

See the unique Quanser-NI platform for controls education and research in action.
Stop by the Quanser booth 105 to see live demonstrations of systems using Quanser and NI hardware and software tools and learn how you can reduce the time required to design and prototype controllers and greatly simplify the hardware implementation. We are looking forward to seeing you in Boston.

Register today to secure your spot!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Quanser-NI Seminar at Georgia Tech Introduces a Unique Platform for Controls Education & Research

On Thursday, November 14, Quanser and NI bring their unique platform for controls education and research to Georgia Tech.

In the seminar titled "A comprehensive hardware and software framework for modern control systems research and education" Quanser and NI engineers offer a detailed introduction to the new hardware and software platform designed by Quanser and NI to:
  • offer a smoother and more efficient process for a broad range of control system applications in research and education,
  • reduce the time required to design and prototype controllers and greatly simplify the hardware implementation,
  • bring an integrated workflow to the engineering labs: from modelling to analysis, controller design, high performance data I/O and real time control, plant systems, and end-user software environments,
  • cover the entire academic usage spectrum: from undergraduate teaching labs for introductory control through to advanced courses and graduate courses, and ultimately to a broad range of research application.
Collectively, the companies' pooled portfolio of products is emerging as a more efficient and effective option over the traditional multi-vendor platforms. This seminar will provide concrete information, case studies, and demonstrations on how such an integrated approach to control systems can improve research and teaching.

Seminar program:
11:00 AM - Harmonizing the disconnect: the vision and goals of the Quanser-NI platform.
Presenter: Dr. Tom Lee, Chief Education Officer, Quanser

11:30 AM - The development process for a complex UAV application focusing on the new NI myRIO embedded platform.
Presenter: Paul Karam, Director of Engineering, Quanser

12:00 PM  - Complimentary lunch

12:30 PM - Accelerating controller design and prototyping in LabVIEW for principal areas of control research and education.
Presenter: Dan Nelson, Marketing Engineer, Controls, NI

1:00 PM - Developing complex controllers using LabVIEW and Quanser RCP Toolkit - detailed technical demonstration
Presenter: Amirpasha Javid, Academic Solutions Advisor, Quanser

1:30 PM - Open Discussion and Q&A

Friday, October 18, 2013

Making Sense out of the "Flipped" Campus: ECEDHA Webinar

The so-called "flipped" campus prescribes that the mechanical details of engineering concepts be learned independently, while the faculty-led classroom experience be focused on synthesis and application of core concepts. In many academic circles, this is generating vigorous debate as we try to reconcile what we are all used to and have been trained to do, with the promised benefits of the flipped world.

Dr. Tom Lee, Quanser's Chief Education Officer explores the concept of "flipped" campus and how it can enhance traditional undergraduate labs and help trigger improvements in education and research in an ECE Webinar on November 12.

Making sense out of the "flipped" campus with new approaches to hands on labs
In his webinar, Dr. Lee will present a case for modern interpretations of the traditional hands-on undergraduate labs which can still offer a great opportunity for engineering schools to efficiently flip their classrooms and trigger improvements in education and potentially even research.

The hands-on lab was, from the outset, an effort to introduce concept synthesis into the curriculum and it is the place where theory meets reality and practical insights emerge from the foundational theoretical knowledge. In essence, this is what the flipped classroom promises to do. The key difference, today, is that the flipped strategy inherently takes advantage of modern technology and media frameworks and if we are not careful, even the best among the traditional labs will become stale and ineffective. Dr. Lee will present new techniques emerging from institutions and industry that are enriching the modern concept of the lab and additionally, make these labs of the near future, a vibrant dimension of the flipped campus. He will discuss some of the techniques, including bonding strong industrially-relevant concepts to undergrad labs; frameworks for off-campus hands-on labs; and the role of mathematics and modelling in an enriched lab experience and illustrate them with case studies.

Quanser is proud to partner with Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association (ECEDHA) to launch the association's new ECE Webinar series with an event on November 12.

Click here to register for the webinar.

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.

Quanser Hexapod Helps in Development of a Seismic Isolator at BarcelonaTech

A research group at The Polytechnic University of Catalonia's (also known as BarcelonaTech) Control, Dynamics and Applications Lab (CoDAlab) led by Dr. Francesc Pozo works on a system that can help better protect buildings and infrastructure from earthquakes. The roll-n-cage (RNC) anti-vibration device placed between the building and the ground can reduce motion induced in buildings and bridges by earthquakes or other vibration sources. To model the RNC device, Dr. Pozo and his group uses Quanser Hexapod. Watch this video from their lab:

In this application, the researchers attached a force-torque sensor to the upper plate of the Hexapod. The sensor measures the force and torque of the ball placed on the sliding surface. The group developed two control algorithms to control the position of the ball and place it in the middle of the platform as quickly as possible: a standard PID control and a fuzzy-logic control.

"I consider Quanser as one of the leading companies in the field of design and manufacture of systems to help instructors to teach," says Dr. Pozo, "but these devices can also be used to test control algorithms." His research group is using several other Quanser devices, such as Shake Table II to generate a horizontal motion to modeland identify a MR damper attached to the Shake Table surface.

To learn more how Quanser platforms can help you validate your control research, download this whitepaper.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Webinar: Engaging and Effective Controls Education

If you are looking for ways to make teaching controls more engaging and effective, the new interactive webcast series presented by National Instruments is a great opportunity to explore latest solutions for hands-on controls teaching and get useful tips from your peers.

We invite you to join the webcast Controls, Robotics and Mechatronics sessions on Friday, November 1 to learn more about:
  • NI-Quanser platform for controls education seamlessly integrating NI and Quanser technologies and engaging students by putting theory into practice.
    Register for the 30 minut webcast session "Create Engaging Learning Experiences for Students in Controls Education" starting at 1:00 pm CT
  • Purdue University implementing NI and Quanser tools in a control systems course, enabling students to progress from design to prototyping in just one semester.
    Register for the 30 minut webcast session "Bridging from Controls Courses to Final-Year Design" presented by Galen King, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, starting at 1:30 pm CT
With your webcast registration NI also gives you a chance to win a hardware you can use in your control lab, such as NI ELVIS, NI myRIO and more.

For the full Engineering Education Interactive Webcast Series program, click here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Quanser Rapid Control Prototyping Toolkit: From Control Teaching To Open-Ended Research

A new version of Quanser rapid control prototyping software add-on for LabVIEW™, RCP Toolkit 2013, is now available for users interested in controls. RCP Toolkit 2013 builds on its previous version by helping users take full advantage of the latest iteration of NI graphical development software, LabVIEW 2013.

Working in conjunction with the Quanser Q1-cRIO module for NI CompactRIO controller, RCP Toolkit 2013 continues to simplify the hardware access, configuration and algorithm deployment onto the NI CompactRIO, thanks to new features that offer real-time performance, along with expanded compatibility, usability, safety and support. As a result, LabVIEW users can extend the range of their activities from control teaching to open-ended research.

Key new features of RCP Toolkit 2013 include:
  • PXI Windows 7 support via the PXI 7841R DAQ board and the Quanser QPIDe for real time support
  • HIL Read Hardware Timebase VIs for Windows for enhanced safety and real-time performance
  • HIL Watchdog VI’s for enhanced safety
  • LabVIEW 2013, LabVIEW 2012 support under Windows 8
Visit our website to learn more about RCP Toolkit.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Field Trip to the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

Our host, Dr. Geoff Fernie, TRI Director
As a kid, I always loved field trips, and could enjoy a few extra ones volunteering for my kids' school ones. Now, when the boys claim its embarrassing to have a parent around on such occasions, Quanser helped. Partnering and collaborating with the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Canada's largest academic health sciences centre, for several years, the whole company got invited to visit the Institute and see how we are contributing to the great research going on in there.

The CEAL motion simulator
TRI is home to one of the world's most advanced rehabilitation facilities - Intelligent Design for Adaptation, Participation and Technology (iDAPT). The centerpiece of iDAPT is the Challenging Environment Assessment Lab (CEAL), a huge underground research lab with a 6 DOF hydraulic motion simulator where researchers can study interactions between people and their environment. 

Entering the WinterLab payload
Quanser partnered with TRI on CEAL development  - our QUARC real time control software is actually at the heart of this unique lab, controlling the motion simulator. I had read about CEAL previously, but seeing it in real life is really impressive. Several "payloads" or chambers simulating different environments and conditions can be put on the motion simulator to perform various research projects. 

2 DOF Gantry and safety harness
To protect the people actually performing tests, a safety harness is mounted on the roof. This is also a contribution of the Quanser team - our engineers designed an active robotic system that follows a person's movements around the chamber in a non-intrusive manner.

Inside the StreetLab
We had an opportunity to check some of the payloads, including the WinterLab that can simulate different conditions such as cold, wind, snow drifts and ice. It can simulate cold and icy sidewalks really well!

Another interesting payload we saw was the StreetLab, with a high res, 180-degree field-of-view curved visual projection screen combined with a treadmill interface and a wheelchair simulator.

We also visited other TRI research labs, and were amazed by the work they do. It was quite inspiring for all of us visitors from Quanser to see the real-life applications of our technology, skills and expertise. Definitely a recommended field trip for high school kids, and sorry, boys, I am volunteering for that one!