Despite the popularity it gained within the last 10 months, the term “remote education“ is not necessarily a term people are unfamiliar with. This way of education has been made available in very few universities for decades. However, the global pandemic that has taken the world by storm by appearing out of nowhere in the first months of 2020, also known as Covid-19, has caused the remote education system to be an essential part of our daily lives. For classes such as literature, history, and geography, remote education is a very appropriate replacement for its traditional counterpart, but with subjects that require students and teachers to be next to each other like engineering, remote education can be difficult. Nevertheless, the technological advancements over the last ten years made it possible and easier for students and teachers to replace traditional education with the remote one for almost any kind of class and program.
Labs are a crucial factor in hands-on training. In labs, students can apply the things they have learned theoretically at school. This helps students gain some sort of experience with whatever they are doing by facilitating the learning process. However, during the Coronavirus pandemic, students have lost access to labs where they could comfortably put their knowledge into practice. Thanks to the remotely accessible engineering lab technologies, it is now possible to access a lab at home! Many of the world’s most prestigious universities have decided to make these types of labs available for their students so that they can learn faster, make mistakes without consequences, and gain experience from their mistakes. The remotely accessible engineering lab system provides students with a safe environment with appropriate tools where they can still learn efficiently.
Ball balancing table is one of the most important experiment tools in the remotely accessible engineering lab. These ball balancing robots, which allow algorithms programmed by researchers and students, are used to figure out how different control types affect the balanced system. These robots allow students to learn the basics of control theory in practice and have many advantages, especially for graduate students. These systems which are programmed to recognize and imitate rectangles and spiral movements also have highly sensitive touch screens. The advanced control systems built with the ball balancing robots help the students to control them without any problems.
Ball and beam system is also an important tool available in the remotely accessible engineering lab, as it showcases the basics of control theory well. This experiment which is built with only a beam and a ball are used to examine the position of the ball on top of the beam. The ball and beam experiment system is not very complicated to build yet it is extremely sensitive. In traditional labs, this system is usually used with a servo motor to make the table move which makes it ultimately easy for students.
Delta robots are among the indispensable experiment tools of engineering laboratories. The use of servo motors to move the robot, as in conventional laboratories, is a working principle that researchers and students are familiar with. While Delta robots provide a great opportunity to learn subjects such as robotic control and vision guidance from scratch, they also open a door to the world of industry 4.0 for researchers. Since the robot comes with open-source software, it is also possible for researchers to create and implement their own algorithms in a remotely accessible engineering lab. With Delta robots, different objects can be easily manipulated thanks to their magnetic end-effector, which provides convenience for researchers in the application. Delta robots can be used for studying advanced digital control techniques and vision-guided robotic technologies.
Stewart platform is a laboratory tool that offers realistic simulations in six different axes using linear actuators, gyroscopes, and a three-axis accelerometer. With this device, it is possible to create simulations in many areas such as flight simulators, machine tools, cranes, telescopes, antennas, and orthopedic surgery. Stewart platforms, which are useful remotely accessible engineering laboratory tools, provide great convenience to researchers as each unit can be controlled and observed remotely. This platform can be used to experience the effects of different controller types on the system, also includes extra features such as learning the fundamental aspects of robotics and being able to execute robotic tasks.
Acrobot, one of the best examples of the use of internet technology for engineering education, fills a huge gap by providing an open-source system. This tool, which makes it possible for researchers to understand inverse kinematic algorithms and prepare new control prototypes for industrial serial kinematic robots, has great potential in terms of entering into or perceiving this world in different ways. Thanks to Acrobot, which operates with its high precision servo actuators, researchers can easily develop their own real-time algorithms. It is also possible to control factors such as speed, torque, and position of each motor and joint through the software directly.
Some researchers, who are not able to grasp the potential of remote laboratories, claim that these tools can never replace traditional laboratories. Yet, the remotely accessible engineering lab has already managed to go beyond traditional laboratories. It is possible to list the contributions of the remote laboratory to the engineering field as following:
Remotely accessible engineering labs, unlike their traditional versions, can be accessed anytime and anywhere. This provides unprecedented freedom for students and researchers.
Once purchased, remotely accessible engineering lab devices do not need any maintenance. This allows both universities and students to do more research at lower costs.
Remotely accessible engineering labs are always up-to-date. It can quickly be updated if need be.
We are proud to announce that we are releasing our remotely accessible engineering lab called ACROME Remote Lab very soon. Please check https://acrome.net/remote-lab for the updates and experience this new venue of engineering laboratory type.
*These products are planned and will be added to the system after the first release version of ACROME’s Remote Lab.