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Enhancing Vibration And Controls Teaching With Remote Laboratory Experiments

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Modern Software Measurement Techniques

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.677.1 - 12.677.17



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Paper Authors


Gangbing Song University of Houston

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Gangbing Song is an Associate Professor in the the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston and Director of the Smart Materials and Structures Laboratory.

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Claudio Olmi University of Houston

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Claudio Olmi is a Graduate Student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Houston

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Richard Bannerot University of Houston

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Richard Bannerot is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston. He is a registered engineer in the state of Texas.

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

Enhancing Vibration and Controls Teaching with Remote Lab Experiments


This paper describes the remote laboratory experiments and demonstrations developed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston to enhance students’ learning of vibrations control and their knowledge of smart materials. Two intelligent vibrating structures utilizing smart materials to control and damp structural vibrations have been integrated into an internet based virtual laboratory. The students are now able to control the experimental variables through a virtual instrument, created through the commercial virtual lab software LabView, from places and times convenient to them. By using a remote laboratory students are able to take turns sharing a single experimental set-up and their educational experience is enriched while reducing the costs to the student and to the university. Student survey responses following remote demonstrations of the experiments are very positive. Over 90% of all responses indicated that the experiments and demonstration were either “Effective” or “Very Effective.” Additionally, the students expressed the unanimous desire for more remote laboratories. Based on this positive experience, a remote laboratory based course has been proposed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.


Conventional laboratories have become increasingly costly for universities. The increased costs of equipment, materials, and support personnel, coupled with time, space, and enrollment constraints, have made the addition of novel laboratory components to existing lecture courses very difficult1. However, with recent advances in technology and the development and acceptance of the internet as a viable medium for high-speed data transmission, a potential replacement to the traditional university experimentation has emerged – the remote laboratory. By housing a single or limited number of experimental set-ups on site at the university and allowing students to control and collect data from the on-site hardware through the internet, universities have been able to diversify their laboratory course selection while controlling costs, space, and time commitments and enriching the students’ academic experiences.

This paper describes and presents evidence of the effectiveness of a number of remotely controlled experiments at the University of Houston created to enhance the teaching of vibrations and controls in predominately lecture courses in both mechanical and civil engineering. The remote experiments also integrate the use of emerging smart materials to enrich the students’ understanding of concepts presented in lecture. Through remotely controlled demonstrations and laboratory experiments, students were able to connect principles taught in class to real-world, observable phenomena without having to enter a traditional laboratory. Student response to these remote labs has been positive and a clear student demand for more remote labs and demonstrations has been presented.

Song, G., & Olmi, C., & Bannerot, R. (2007, June), Enhancing Vibration And Controls Teaching With Remote Laboratory Experiments Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2019

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