Saturday, November 23, 2013

Enable Named NI Education Specialty Alliance Partner

Quanser's partner, Enable Training and Consulting Inc. has been recently named an Education Specialty Alliance Partner by National Instruments. The first-of-its-kind designation certifies Enable as a go-to partner for educators and researchers looking for assistance with integration of NI hardware and software solutions.

Using its expertise and experience, Enable can work with universities and colleges to make sure they get most out of their LabVIEW and NI hardware-based tools. The offering spans from development of comprehensive and engaging curriculum to product setup and training, making sure NI solutions are effectively integrated in both classroom and lab settings.

Users of Quanser-NI platform for control research and education could already benefit from the strong Enable-NI partnership. Quanser collaborated with Enable developing modern media-rich courseware for engineering education.

"Enable has a unique mix of control systems and LabVIEW experience," says Keith Blanchet, Director of Business Development at Quanser. "We are very pleased to partner with them to better serve our growing community of NI platform Quanser customers."

Congratulations, Enable! We are looking forward to bringing this collaboration to the next level.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Challenges in Engineering Education - and How To Solve Them

In a recent interview, Dr. Hans Hoyer, the Secretary General of the International Federation of Engineering  Education Societies (IFEES) and a member of the prestigious Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC), offers his perspective on the major issues facing engineering education, along with the new approaches he favours to help overcome those challenges.

As a member of both GEDC and IFEES, Quanser is proud to partner with these organizations to improve engineering education worldwide and strongly supports the strategies Dr. Hoyer highlights to ensure the graduation of larger numbers of globally-prepared engineers. Read the full interview.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

MIT Students Using Quanser and NI Tools in Feedback Control Systems Course

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) undergraduate and graduate students taking the Feedback Control Systems course are quite familiar with the Quanser 3 DOF Helicopter system. They use it in the course to prototype and validate their controllers and connect the theory to real-world.

Within a series of lab modules, students are tasked to design roll, pitch and yaw controllers for the 3 DOF Helicopter using various techniques, including root loci, Bode plots, LQR, LQG and dynamic output feedback. At the design and simulation stage, students work in the LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module and LabVIEW MathScript RT Module environments. With the 3D visualization of the 3 DOF Helicopter provided, students can easily compare the simulation and the actual physical system.

To test the performance of designed controllers on an actual physical system, students use the Quanser-NI platform, combining Quanser higly nonlinear 3 DOF Helicopter with NI hardware (CompactRIO) and software  tools (LabVIEW FPGA and LabVIEW Real-Time modules). This solution significantly reduces setup time, simplifying connections and testing process so that the lab time can be used for teaching and learning rather than hardware testing. But see it for yourself:

The Quanser-NI platform used at MIT proved not only effective for validating control theory and designed methods, it also helped increase students engagement and interest. As Professor Jonathan How says in the article for National Instruments website,  "...numerous students spent extra time to participate in our optional competition, in which the helicopter is to autonomously traverse a virtual obstacle course. Since the completion of the term, several students have independently contacted the course staff due to increased interest in applying LabVIEW to other projects at MIT."
Read more about Professor How's experience with the Quanser-NI platform.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How Researchers Around the World Are Using Quanser 3 DOF Hover

Quanser’s 3DOF Hover system has been serving the needs of researchers and educators in controls labs for many years. It is an economical and reliable hardware-in-the-loop test bed for the study of behavior of vertical lift-off vehicles in the lab, without actually flying.  

Here’s how some researchers are putting the Quanser 3 DOF Hover system to work.

Instituto Tecnologico de Aeronautica (ITA), Brazil:  Fault-Tolerant Control Research
Professor Roberto Kawakami leads the Fault-Tolerant Research Group in ITA’s Electronic Engineering Department. His research team’s main focus is the fault-tolerant control. In this context, they have investigated both passive and active approaches.

In a passive approach, the controller is designed to be robust to the effect of faults, whereas in an active approach, the controller is reconfigured by using information provided by a fault detection and isolation module. More specifically, their research has involved the use of robust and model predictive control techniques. As an example, they recently employed the Quanser 3 DOF Hover system to evaluate robust controllers designed by using an H∞ loop shaping method. The results were reported at the 2013 Asian Control Conference.

For most of their research activities in this area, Professor Kawakami’s group has used Quanser’s 3 DOF Hover and 3 DOF Helicopter systems with Quanser’s QUARC® rapid control prototyping software. They chose to work with Quanser systems because of their simplicity, speed and efficiency. Using Quanser products allow them to focus their efforts on the design of innovative control laws, with minimal time spent on low-level hardware and software issues. They find Quanser’s customer support is very good and the equipment has proven itself to be reliable after several years of operation.

 Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Spain: LQR and MPC Control
The following is a video produced by Gonzalo Torro Ferri, then of the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Spain, showing a linear quadratic regulator and model-predictive controller designed to command the pitch, roll and yaw angles of the 3 DOF Hover system.