Asee peer logo

Design of a Virtual Laboratory for Automation Control

Download Paper |

Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

COED: Online and Blended Learning Part 1

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count

14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30267

Download Count

41

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Zelin Zhu

visit author page

Zelin Zhu is a Software Development Engineer at ESRI in Redlands, California, USA. He holds dual master's degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Modeling, Simulation and Visualization Engineering respectively from Old Dominion University and a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Automation from Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications. He is the first generation Microsoft HoloLens developer. His research interests include virtual reality and mobile application development.

visit author page

biography

Yuzhong Shen Old Dominion University

visit author page

Dr. Yuzhong Shen received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, M.S. degree in Computer Engineering from Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, and Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware.  His research interests include visualization and computer graphics, modeling and simulation, and signal and image processing.

Dr. Shen is currently an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of the Department of Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization Engineering (MSVE) at Old Dominion University.  He has a joint appointment with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Old Dominion University.  Prior to joining Old Dominion University, Dr. Shen worked as an Engineer and a Senior Engineer with Weifang Hua-Guang Technologies, China, as a Research Assistant with National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Computational Field Simulation at Mississippi State University, as a Research Assistant with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Delaware, and as a Senior Research Scientist with Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center (VMASC) at Old Dominion University.  Dr. Shen is a Senior Member of IEEE.

visit author page

biography

Cheng Y. Lin P.E. Old Dominion University

visit author page

Dr. Lin is a Professor and Program Director of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Old Dominion University. He received his PhD of Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1989, and is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. Dr. Lin has expertise in automation control, machine design, CAD/CAM, CNC, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, and robotics. He has been active in the technology application research and teaching training courses for the local industries and technology application center

visit author page

biography

Shuo Ren Old Dominion University

visit author page

Shuo Ren is a PhD Candidate and Research Assistant in the Department of Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization Engineering at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. He holds a M.S. in Modeling, Simulation and Visualization Engineering from Old Dominion University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech. His research interests include virtual reality, immersive learning and human-computer interaction.

visit author page

biography

Katherine Smith Old Dominion University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-5026-4501

visit author page

Katherine Smith received B.S. degrees in applied mathematics and mechanical engineering from Old Dominion University and an M.S. in Applied and Computational Mathematics from Old Dominion University. Ms. Smith is currently a senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Old Dominion University and is pursuing a PhD in Modeling and Simulation. Her research interests include serious games for STEM education, scientific visualization, and augmented and virtual reality. Prior to teaching at ODU, she worked as an Aerospace Engineer at NASA Langley Research Center.

visit author page

biography

Anthony W. Dean Old Dominion University

visit author page

Dr. Anthony W. Dean has had several roles in academia. He is currently Assistant Dean for Research, Batten College of Engineering and Technology (BCET) at ODU. His previous appointments include Associate Professor of Engineering Technology and as Associate Director of the Institute for Ship Repair, Maintenance, and Operations at Old Dominion University (ODU).His research has focused mostly on control systems (integration and testing) and the reliability and maintainability of complex systems. He has been selected as both a NASA and an ONR Faculty Fellow. He regularly teaches courses in Marine Engineering and in Maintained Systems. Most recently Dr. Dean was on the Headquarters Staff the American Society of Naval Engineers. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, and a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering Technology, from the Batten College of Engineering and Technology at Old Dominion University. Additionally, Dr. Dean received an MBA from the College of William and Mary. Prior to is academic career Dr. Dean was Director of Operations and Business Development for Clark-Smith Associates, P.C., and served as an Electrician in the US Navy aboard the USS South Carolina and the USS Enterprise.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Design of A Virtual Laboratory for Automation Control

While online education provides many new opportunities and resources to students and professionals, one limitation of existing online education is the lack of laboratory exercises. Online educational resources often concentrate on teaching theoretical concepts, such as proving theorems or solving equations, and have very little or none coverage of laboratories. Laboratory courses are an essential component of science and engineering education as they provide hands-on experiences that are similar to real world problems. Students often learn more from lab exercises than purely theoretical problems. One approach to compensate the deficiency of online education’s lack of laboratories is to provide recorded videos of the real labs so that students can at least watch the process that the lab is conducted. However, students still need real laboratory environments to practice the skills learned in the videos. One approach that holds great potential to enhance laboratory experience for online education is the use of computer-based modeling and simulation tools. Simulation based virtual laboratories emulate lab equipment and configurations in highly realistic 3D environments and can provide very effective learning experiences.

This paper presents the design and development of Virtual Lab, a simulation application for completing programmable control logic (PLC) using electrical and pneumatic components. we developed the original version of Virtual Lab for programmable logic controller (PLC) wiring lab in an automation and control class. While the original version of Virtual Lab received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the students and course instructor, it only contained mechanical and electrically controlled switches and it was developed using Microsoft XNA Game Studio, a game development engine Microsoft stopped supporting in 2014. The latest version of Virtual Lab was developed to expand its capabilities by including pneumatic control components using the latest game development technologies. Unity is a leading game engine with a wide range of advanced capabilities and provides a natural choice for continuing development of Virtual Lab. Virtual Lab now supports a wide array of pneumatic components, such as single-acting cylinder, air divider, 3/2 directional control valve, and 5/2 solenoid control valve. Other new important features of Virtual Lab include direct 3D drag and drop manipulations of lab devices and components, more camera views (e.g., orbit tool), a more user friendly graphical interfaces, as well as a more realistic rendition of the lab environment. Students can now use it to perform wiring circuits, just like on-campus students, using combined electro-pneumatic experiments. Virtual Lab has been deployed for Windows personal computers and Android mobile devices. Future development of Virtual Lab will include a web version that will run directly inside web browsers and expansion to virtual reality devices (e.g., zSpace and Oculus Rift) and augmented reality devices (e.g., Microsoft HoloLens).

Zhu, Z., & Shen, Y., & Lin, C. Y., & Ren, S., & Smith, K., & Dean, A. W. (2018, June), Design of a Virtual Laboratory for Automation Control Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30267

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015