I have question related to teaching.

I don't have facilities for doing real time applications for my undergraduate students related to automatic control design (like inverted pendulum), and the devices that we have are black box.

I am using MATLAB/SIMULINK, but this doesn't make sense for them.

Any recommendation to make automatic control more tangible and concrete?


Why not make a more graphical simulated environment inside of a web browser? All sorts of dynamical systems problems are prettified up and turned into browser games these days, whether in flash or JavaScript on HTML5.

If you make a simplified system, like an inverted pendulum, in a browser, then it can be nicely visual. If you give a set of manual controls in the program, then students can get a feel for it. With appropriate piping, you should then be able to hook it up to Matlab for them to control as a real-time system from there. You can also inject noise and control errors to bring more realism and prevent unstable solutions from working.

In short: our computers are powerful enough these days that a satisfying virtual lab is quite within reach.

| improve this answer | |
  • Note that such a thing already exists (Google "virtual automatic control lab") - possibly not necessary to reinvent the wheel here. – ff524 Aug 27 '15 at 2:23
  • Excellent! Do you have a link? I suspected such likely existed but didn't know an example myself. – jakebeal Aug 27 '15 at 2:28
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    Here's one such initiative among Spanish universities, another in Italy, something in German that seems relevant. (Some labs like these are simulated, some involve remote control of actual equipment.) – ff524 Aug 27 '15 at 2:42

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