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Engineering Laboratory Accessible Via The Internet

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.437.1 - 6.437.9

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Paper Authors

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Vladimir Nikulin

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Victor Skormin

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1526 Engineering Laboratory Accessible via the Internet

Victor Skormin, Vladimir Nikulin Binghamton University, State University of New York


This paper presents a system facilitating remote multiple-user access to advanced laboratory instrumentation via the Internet. The technique itself, and its potential for the enhancement of engineering laboratory courses and, consequently, engineering programs nationwide and internationally is discussed.

1. Introduction

The on-going revolution in information technology results in noticeable advancements in university education. These advancements come at the right time: the amounts of knowledge expected at the baccalaureate and master’s levels show drastic increase. The system of engineering education is especially vulnerable to the effects of Internet, global communication systems, computers, etc. However, there is one area in engineering education that is still dominated by classical teaching/learning methodology: the laboratory. This could be easily explained: the purpose of an engineering laboratory course is to teach future engineers to interact with the “real hardware” in all its imperfection. Any attempt to replace the “real hardware” in a student laboratory with the most elaborate simulation software can result in the loss of realism and prevents students from gaining important practical skills and experiences. Unfortunately, modern engineering laboratory equipment is highly expensive. In addition, the maintenance and repair costs, along with the floor space requirements, often exceed the resources of many universities. This provides the only argument in support of educational laboratory utilizing virtual reality techniques: virtual reality is better than no reality at all.

The technology presented herein is not a virtual reality laboratory. It utilizes advanced space- qualified laser positioning hardware equipped with computer interfaces facilitating remote operation and status display of its components. All aspects of operation of this hardware are controlled by a designated computer through a number of actuators and extensive monitoring/data acquisition. This system has been upgraded to achieve global accessibility of the “real hardware” via the Internet thus allowing remote users worldwide to perform any experiments in real-time and collect feedback information representing properties of the actual devices. A special effort is being made to provide the user with a view of the laboratory setup from several positions. This would bring to a student laboratory the most valuable aspects of the “real hardware”-based experiments. It is believed that the choice of laboratory, laser steering and position control systems for space communication, will make it attractive to many engineering programs. Successful implementation of this technology would upgrade any

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright @ 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Nikulin, V., & Skormin, V. (2001, June), Engineering Laboratory Accessible Via The Internet Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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: © 2001 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