Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"Mesa Vibratoria" Will Help Prepare Future Peruvian Engineers

Located along the South American west coast and circumscribed by the Andean mountains on the east, Peru is a nation that experiences high seismic activity. For this reason, seismic resistant structures are paramount for Peruvians. Consequently, their civil engineers have accepted the challenge imposed by Mother Nature and therefore universities and research centers are preparing future engineers with the latest technologies for this purpose. The most recent acquisition of Universidad Federico Villarreal in Lima, Peru for the Civil Engineering Faculty has been the Quanser Shake Table II, so their students can run simulations of actual earthquakes.

I had the privilege of traveling to Peru for an on-site installation and training on the "mesa vibratoria" at the university, where I met Professor Omart Tello and his students. Professor Tello teaches Seismic Resistance Engineering to Civil Engineering students in their final year. It was clear that these students were very excited and motivated to learn how to operate the Shake Table II system. On the fist day of training, they quickly learned to set up and run the experiments using the two distinct methods: using the Graphical User Interface that Quanser provides for running Shake Table II experiments, and using QUARC/Simulink models. In the following day, the training was focused on recording results for further analysis and downloading and running other earthquake files from the PEER Strong Motion database.
Professor Tello (second from the left) and his team have many plans for using
the Quanser Shake Table II for teaching, as well as research.
Professor Tello plans to use the Shake Table II in various projects the students are working on, one of them being the development of a seismic isolator. Their projects include the addition of the Quanser Active Mass Damper (AMD) to the system. I'm confident that with this new resource for the Civil Engineering labs, students at Universidad Federico Villarreal will further expand their knowledge and research capabilities.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Quanser Shake Table Used for Validation of Sloshing Research

Free-surface dynamics of liquids in tanks subjected to acceleration - also known as sloshing - is an issue touching on many real life applications, including fluid transportation and shipping, as well as design of vibration absorber devices.

Researchers from the Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Chile, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Chile and Rice University, USA, studied the problem using the finite element analysis, based on solving the Navier-Stokes equations of incompressible fluids using a monolithic solver. To validate the numerical results, the research team used Quanser Shake Table II to control the motion of a rectangular tank with ultrasonic sensors.
Experimental setup with the Quanser Shake Table II loaded with the instrumented tank:
table controllers and ultrasonic sensor
The results of the team's research work was published in the December 2013 issue of the Computational Mechanics journal, in the article titled "Finite element computation and experimental validation of sloshing in rectangular tanks."

For more details on how researchers use Quanser platforms for control systems research validation, visit our website's Research Papers section or download the whitepaper The Quanser Platform for Control Systems Research Validation.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Elizabeth City State University adds Qs to its lab

The Aviation Science Program at the Elizabeth City State University’s Department of Technology is the only four-year collegiate aviation program in the State of North Carolina. Its uniqueness is now underlined by the latest additions of “Qs” to the department’s lab: that is, of Quanser Qball quadrotor and Qbot autonomous robot.

Setting up the Quanser UVS Lab at
the Elizabeth City State University
With these devices and a set of twelve NaturalPoint OptiTrack cameras, Dr. Rawat, Associate Professor and Department Chair can set up a complete unmanned multi-vehicle indoor lab and expand the Control Systems, Mechatronic System Design and Reconfigurable Computing courses, as well as undergraduate capstone projects. Plus the Quanser's Unmanned Vehicle Systems (UVS) lab  will be used for three new courses, begining in the fall 2014: Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robotics, Advanced Mobile Robotics and Aerial Robotics.

The lab will be also used for research in areas such as sensor fusion, multi-agent collision avoidance and SLAM localization. Using twelve cameras, as opposed to a standard setup with six, allows for a larger workspace and makes it possible to expand the number of agents.

Thanks to the complete turn-key solution with controllers included, and on-site setup assistance from Quanser engineer, Dr. Rawat and his students could start their work right away. While all the sensors needed to cover topics of five courses using the unmanned vehicle lab are already on board, the open architecture design of the lab allows for addition of other sensors in the future.

Collaborative mission: first tests of Quanser Qball quadrotor and Qbot unmanned robot
at the Elizabeth City State University

Dr. Rawat also appreciates comprehensive documentation and courseware that come with the systems – that way he doesn’t have to develop all the course materials from scratch, but can reuse materials developed by Quanser. The supplied open-architecture controllers can also be modified for his educational and research needs, saving him time he would have to spend building controllers.

Dr. Rawat also hopes the demonstration of the cutting-edge unmanned technology will help his university attract high school students and excite them for a career in engineering.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WEBINAR: Enhancing Controls Education with the QUBE-Servo

The Quanser QUBE™-Servo is an affordable, fully-integrated rotary servo experiment designed for teaching students control concepts relevant to real world. Built with the same quality and precision that Quanser is renowned for, the QUBE-Servo provides instructors with a state of the art controls lab that will engage students in any engineering discipline.

In this webinar you will:
  • Explore the QUBE-Servo and its easy-to-attach inertia disk and pendulum modules, as well as USB, direct I/O and the new NI myRIO connectivity options,
  • Learn how to use the QUBE-Servo with MATLAB/Simulink or LabVIEW, and Quanser rapid control prototyping software QUARC or RCP Toolkit,
  • Tour the flexible digital media-based courseware and textbook map that can help you seamlessly integrate the QUBE-Servo into your curriculum.
Seats are limited - register today!