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Platform Independent Interface for Remote Laboratory Experiments

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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

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1045.1 - 25.1045.9



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Paper Authors

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Bo Cao University of Houston

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Gangbing Song University of Houston

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Xuemin Chen Texas Southern University

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Daniel Osakue Texas Southern University

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Platform Independent Interface for Remote Laboratory ExperimentsAbstractLaboratories have always been an essential part of the engineering curriculum. However,laboratories these days include high-tech equipment that must be duplicated for each station,further increasing costs. In addition, the space to house such a laboratory has increaseddrastically with the rising student population. Remote laboratories allow a solution to theseproblems by allowing students to share an experiment without increasing costs or space needed.However, the way that students can access these experiments is currently plagued with manyissues.Current interfaces are available for experiments, but these require length installations and areoften non-compatible with earlier editions. In this paper, a framework using the latest internettechnology to provide an interactive user interface for the user is given. This interface will notrequire the user to install any add-ons or runtime enginesbut will require the use of a modern web browser along with high-speed internet access. All thisis achieved by using JavaScript for the client interface, allowing a broad range of techniques andnear complete platform independence.JavaScript technologies that are used in this interface includes is not limited to: Ajax(Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), and Ext 4.0(JavaScript library with Graphic User Interface capabilities). This interface will communicatewith a proxy web server that also functions as a security link/scheduling server, and the proxyserver will transmit the commands from the user to the end-experiment.In this paper, the LabVIEW™-based experiment Nano Carbonfiber Beam was modified in orderto use this interface. The experiment is set up so that it will start once a button is pressed fromthe interface and it will stream a constant video by webcam to the user along with experimentaldata in the form of a chart. Users can modify the experiment parameters such as frequency anddata cycle by changing the appropriate fields on the interface. A security login is alsoimplemented in the form of a JSON request to the web server.After this interface is completed, the students will be able to perform experiments using the newplatform independent interface and will no longer have to suffer from version incompatibilityand long download and installation timers.

Cao, B., & Song, G., & Chen, X., & Osakue, D. (2012, June), Platform Independent Interface for Remote Laboratory Experiments Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21802

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