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Embedded Processor for Remote Laboratory Development

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

COED: IOT and Cybersecurity

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


Abul K. M. Azad Northern Illinois University

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Abul K. M. Azad is a Professor in the Technology Department of Northern Illinois University. He has a Ph.D. in Control and Systems Engineering and M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Electronics Engineering. His research interests include remote laboratories, mechatronic systems, mobile robotics, and educational research. In these areas, Dr. Azad has over 100 refereed journal and conference papers, edited books, and book chapters. So far, he has attracted around $1.7 million in research and development grants from various national and international funding agencies. He serves on editorial boards of a number of professional journals and is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Online Engineering. He is active with various professional organizations (IEEE, IET, ASEE, and ISA) as well as a member of board of Trustees of CLAWAR Association.

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Veysel Demir Northern Illinois University

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Dr. Veysel Demir is an associate professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Northern Illinois University. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, in 1997. He studied at Syracuse University, New York, where he received both a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in electrical engineering in 2002 and 2004, respectively. During his graduate studies, he worked as a research assistant for Sonnet Software, Inc., Liverpool, New York. He worked as a visiting research scholar in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Mississippi from 2004 to 2007. He joined Northern Illinois University in August 2007 and served as an assistant professor until August 2014. He has been serving as an associate professor since then.

Dr. Demir's main field of research is electromagnetics and microwaves. He is especially experienced in applied computational electromagnetics. He heavily participated in the development of time domain and frequency domain numerical analysis tools for new applications and contributed to research on improving the accuracy and speed of algorithms being developed. He is experienced in designing RF/microwave circuits and antennas for the related technologies, and performing experimental characterizations of these devices.

Dr. Demir is a member of IEEE, ACES, and SigmaXi and has coauthored more than 50 technical journal and conference papers. He is a coauthor of the books Electromagnetic Scattering Using the Iterative Multiregion Technique (Morgan & Claypool, 2007), The Finite Difference Time Domain Method for Electromagnetics with MATLAB Simulations (Scitech 2009 and 2015), and Adjoint Sensitivity Analysis of High Frequency Structures with MATLAB (Scitech 2017). He served as a technical program co-chair for the 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation and USNC-URSI Radio Science Meeting and for the ACES 2015 conference.

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Hemanth Kumar Kachadimangalam Ramakrishnan Northern Illinois University

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The Internet of Things (IoT) has added a new element to the world of engineering and technology. With the advent of IoT, a large number of devices are now being connected to the web for data collection, management, and control. As a subset of IoT, remote laboratories allow one to access laboratory equipment over the web to perform experiments. A traditional remote laboratory system involves a full scale computer system along with associated interfacing and web hosting technologies. Sometimes there is significant overhead for the initial commission and subsequent maintenance of a remote laboratory system. To address this issue, this paper reports the design, development, and implementation of a remote laboratory facility using an embedded processor. The embedded processor serves the function of the computer and server used for traditional remote laboratories.

In terms of embedded processors, this project utilizes a Raspberry Pi as the system controller as well as the web server. Raspberry Pi, a small scale computing system with its own operating system, replaces a full scale computer/server, thereby reducing the cost and complexity of remote laboratory design. The developed experiments can be accessed remotely over the web using a suitable graphical user interface (GUI). The GUI is accompanied by a live video feed, using a Raspberry Pi Camera, so the user can have a real time video of the experimental facility. The system is provided with a provision so user can download data to a local system for offline analysis.

This paper describes two remote laboratory experimental systems designed and developed using the described strategy. One is a sensor actuator system the user can manipulate to perform certain laboratory experiments. This will be used to support teaching Python programming for a Raspberry Pi over the web. Students can write their program and upload it on the remote experimental system. The sensors and actuators are an array of light emitting diodes, a temperature sensor, a liquid crystal display, a servo motor, and an ultrasonic sensor. A suitable GUI is also developed so remote users can manipulate the controlled entities with little difficulty. The second experiment is a coupled tank system for preforming process control experiments. The experimental system consists of two tanks on top of each other in such a way that the outlet of one tank flows into the other. The outlet from bottom tank flows to a basin at the bottom. A motor is used to pump fluid to the top tank. By controlling the motor one can control the fluid level at the tanks. The experiment involves the design and development of a feedback control system utilizing the pump and fluid level sensor outputs. The GUI includes the graphical representation of the fluid levels of the tanks, pump current, trigger buttons, and a video of the experimental system. Students can develop their own controller designs and upload them to the system to monitor performance.

Azad, A. K. M., & Demir, V., & Kachadimangalam Ramakrishnan, H. K. (2018, June), Embedded Processor for Remote Laboratory Development Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30368

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