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An Improved Operational Amplifier iLab with a More Realistic Looking Interface

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Computers in the Laboratory

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.164.1 - 25.164.18



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Paper Authors

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Babatunde Isaac Ishola

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Olawale Babatunde Akinwale Obafemi Awolowo University


Lawrence O. Kehinde Obafemi Awolowo University

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Lawrence Kehinde has been a professor of electronic and electrical engineering at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria since 1988. He was the Director of ICT, as well as the founding Principal Investigator of the University's iLab group in collaboration with MIT, USA. Currently, he coordinates a State Research and Educational Network. His present work includes developing virtual and remote labs for students' experimentation. He just concluded a three-year visiting professor job at the Texas Southern University, Houston.

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Kayode Peter Ayodele

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Oluwapelumi Olufemi Aboluwarin

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An improved Operational Amplifier iLab with a More Realistic Looking Interface by Ishola B.I., Ayodele K.P., Kehinde L.O., Akinwale O.B., Aboluwarin O.O Department of Electronic and electrical Engineering Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria AbstractRealistic interfaces for iLab-based operational Amplifier experiments have previouslybeen reported. Motivated by experiences and students’ feedback gathered in the past,an even more realistic interface for Op-amp experimentation using iLab technology ishereby presented.The emphasis in the current work was on the design of a new client and consequently,the system under test (SUT) remains largely unchanged from previously-reportediterations of the lab. The only notable exception is that in the current SUT, theoperational amplifier circuit also allows the construction of a difference amplifier. Asbefore, remote configurability and data acquisition are achieved through a 100-channelswitch array and a NI USB-6251 DAQ card controlled by the experiment enginerespectively.The realistic-looking interface of the client is implemented using Adobe Flex technology.It utilizes a metaphor fabricated around realistic images of breadboards, componentsand instruments. To allow the flexibility available in a real lab where students can utilizean arbitrary set of breadboard nodes in wiring up a particular circuit, the client utilizes adepth-first-search algorithm to construct circuits from an arbitrary number of studentnode-to-node connections. An attempt was made to prevent student disorientation byemploying the use of intuitive control actions to zoom and pan the view, as well as hideinterface elements as desired.Lab assessment was done in two phases. First, a questionnaire was administered tostudents after using the lab. Their responses were compared with those for a previousgeneration of the operational amplifier lab. Secondly, a small study was carried out toverify a previous argument that realistic interfaces improved students’ laboratoryexperience. The results of the study are discussed and attempts are made to extend theimplications to other remote laboratories. Furthermore, the performance of the LabVIEWdll approach to experiment control is compared with a previous approach using the NIDAQmx library.KeywordsRealistic interface, iLab, operational amplifier,

Ishola, B. I., & Akinwale, O. B., & Kehinde, L. O., & Ayodele, K. P., & Aboluwarin, O. O. (2012, June), An Improved Operational Amplifier iLab with a More Realistic Looking Interface Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20924

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