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A Unified Framework for Remote Laboratory Experiments

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.119.1 - 22.119.8



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Paper Authors


Claudio Olmi University of Houston

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Claudio Olmi is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Houston. He received his B.S. and M.S. degree in Computer and Systems Engineering from the University of Houston. He specializes in System Integration of hybrid Mechanical and Electrical systems with focus on Software Programming, Analog and Digital Hardware Design, Internet Technologies for Remote Operations, Digital Controls, and NI LabVIEW Programming. Olmi worked in projects using Smart Materials applied to Civil and Mechanical Structures for in laboratory and remote operations from where he published two journal papers and several conference presentations. He is a student member of IEEE.

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Bo Cao Smart Materials and Structures Laboratory


Han Wang University of Houston

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Han Wang is currently a Ph.D. student of Mechanical Engineering in University of Houston. His research interests are Intelligent Controls, Nonlinear Control Systems and Modeling, Fault Detection and Isolation, and Control of Smart Materials.

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Xuemin Chen Texas Southern University

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Gangbing Song University of Houston

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A Unified Framework for Remote Laboratory Experiments    A remote laboratory is an experiment which is conducted and controlled remotely throughthe Internet or an Intranet. The experiments use real components or instrumentation at a differentlocation from where they are controlled or conducted. An Engineering education laboratorydeveloper usually has expertise in their research field, but not necessarily in remote laboratorydevelopment. NI LabVIEW is a powerful and flexible platform and development environment for graphicprogramming language. A useful feature included in LabVIEW package is the “Web PublishingTool” that converts Virtual Instruments (VIs) to browser compatible ActiveX object. Byenabling the integrated LabVIEW Web Server, the developer can easily allow student access tothe experiment resources remotely. However, the client computers on which students want to runLabVIEW stand-alone applications or shared libraries must have the LabVIEW Runtime Engineinstalled with its version dependent on the LabVIEW version used by the developer. Theversions are not interchangeable and the standard version of Runtime Engine downloads arebig. Although LabVIEW Runtime Engine for Linux and Macintosh computers is available, it ishard to test all the possible combinations of software and hardware that a client computer couldhave. To make things worse, continuous updates of operating systems often causes a perfectlyworking client computer to no longer function in the remote lab. Recently, LabVIEW proposed anew way for web publishing using Web Services with RESTful technology. Although it is agreat improvement, the Client interface still needs to be developed using other technologies, andthe server requires a Microsoft Windows PC with LabVIEW run-time drivers installed. In this paper, a unified framework for next generation remote laboratory experiment ispresented. The Web 2.0 concept will be embraced to provide a remote experiment interfacewhich will work in any modern browser and provide a rich and interactive interface. Unlike firstgeneration remote experiments, the new interface intends to run the entire remote experimentfrom a webpage that requires no plug-ins and is platform (PC, MAC, PDA, etc.), operatingsystem (Windows, Linux, UNIX, Mac OS, etc.) and browser (IE, Firefox, Safari, etc.)independent. The client can go online to conduct an experiment without having to worry aboutfirewalls or which runtime engine version or plug-in is needed. Additionally, by using interpreted high level programming languages for all the serversoftware, the server itself is also platform independent. Python is used to run the serverservice/daemon and is available for most platforms including OS X, Windows, Linux, andUNIX. The web interface uses JavaScript which is supported by most popular browsers.  

Olmi, C., & Cao, B., & Wang, H., & Chen, X., & Song, G. (2011, June), A Unified Framework for Remote Laboratory Experiments Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17401

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