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Teaching Engineering Concepts Across Multiple Disciplines Using A Single Platform Based On Virtual Instrumentation

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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

ABET Accreditation of Multidisciplinary Programs

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1355.1 - 12.1355.8



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Paper Authors

author page

Shekhar Sharad National Instruments

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

Teaching Engineering Concepts Across Multiple Disciplines Using a Single Platform based on Virtual Instrumentation

Abstract Multidisciplinary Labs are becoming increasingly important with convergence of technologies. Continuing budget cuts make it difficult to fund new infrastructure such as physical labs and alternatives that enable educators to reuse existing labs are needed. With the evolution of the desktop and graphical design technologies based on Virtual Instrumentation, it is now possible to implement multidisciplinary labs that span different facets of engineering from control and signal processing to embedded design, from chemistry and physics to electrical and computer engineering. In this paper, we will explain how Virtual Instrumentation helps to establish multidisciplinary labs. We will also examine a modular, cost-effective, laboratory platform, NI ELVIS (Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite) from National Instruments that has gained acceptance in academia as platform to teach concepts in sensors & transducers, circuits, electronics, microcontroller programming, control, signal processing and embedded design and test.

1. Introduction The recent years have seen an increase in emphasis on laboratories. Innovative educators are implementing hands-on learning across multiple disciplines. Whether it is courses in sciences such as physics or chemistry or in electrical and biomedical engineering, there is a significant increase in need for laboratories. While this demand is increasing at a rapid pace, the infrastructure is not increasing at the same pace. This has led educators to seek out innovative techniques to leverage the existing infrastructure to better deliver a hands-on learning environment by setting up multi-disciplinary labs. In this paper, we will outline one of the most promising methodologies, Virtual Instrumentation and how, with recent innovations, it can help educators setup multidisciplinary labs. We will also explore an innovative laboratory platform, NI Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite or the NI ELVIS that has gained acceptance in over 1500 universities worldwide as an instrumentation platform that can serve the needs of multiple disciplines.

2. Background on Virtual Instrumentation The objective of this paper is not to educate the audience on Virtual Instrumentation as this has been effectively done in literature[12,13,14,15]. Rather, the objective of this paper is to examine how the recent advances in Virtual Instrumentation can enable educators to leverage this technology to setup multidisciplinary labs. Virtual Instrumentation platforms such as NI LabVIEW have evolved to enable educators to not just teach how to acquire data from sensors and instruments but be able to teach signal processing and control design concepts as well as mechatronics and embedded design. Educators at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology[1] have used Virtual Instrumentation that is based on graphical programming to teach signal processing concepts. Educators at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Mechatronics [2] have used Virtual Instrumentation to teach mechatronics concepts and design innovative systems such as the HOT- V (Human Object Transport Vehicle) in one semester from concept to prototype. An interesting demonstration of this system can be found at [3]. Another project in the same department at RPI is the levitation system that is created using NI ELVIS. Educators at Georgia Tech in their ECE

Sharad, S. (2007, June), Teaching Engineering Concepts Across Multiple Disciplines Using A Single Platform Based On Virtual Instrumentation Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2433

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