Enhancing Student Learning Experiences in Dynamic System Control Education

Project Title: Enhancing Student Learning Experiences in Dynamic System Control Education

Project Lead: Jeong-Hoi Koo

Email: koo@miamioh.edu

Phone: (513 529-0723

Affiliation: CEC

Project Details: This project is aiming at acquiring a real-time control interface system in the Dynamical Systems Laboratory (DSL) in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (MME) in order to enhance student learning in dynamical systems with state of the art control technology. The system will be used multiple MME courses, including independent study and undergraduate student projects. DSL is currently equipped with basic data acquisition systems, primarily for acquiring input analog signals, but they are limited for rapid control prototyping applications and high-end control design and implementation. The Advanced Control Education Kit (MicroLabBox) by dSPACE is suitable for teaching advanced controls and real-time control of dynamical systems. This comprehensive control package includes the hardware, Control Desk software for real time interface. Thus, adding this system will significantly extend modeling and testing capabilities within the MME curricula and enhance student learning in the field of dynamic systems.

Problem Project Attempts to Solve: Design, modeling, testing, and prototyping are critical in engineering education. Particularly, gaining experiences in real-time control, test or measurement is increasingly important as most industries around the world (automotive, aerospace, defense, industrial automation, medical technology and others) rely on advanced control or mechatronic systems. Thus, providing the students expertise in these areas is important to their education and professional development. Currently, MME’s Dynamic Systems Laboratory has serval data acquisition systems that were acquired nearly a decade ago to teach data measurement techniques for the first year engineering students. While these systems are still useful for measuring analog signals from sensors attached to dynamical systems, they are not suitable for control design and implementation of controllers to regulate the dynamic systems. Thus, obtaining the advanced control education kit and their use in undergraduate classes and projects would truly benefit the education of the students.

Does this project focus on Graduate Studies?: Yes

If yes, explain: The primary use of the advanced control system will be in undergraduate student education, yet it can also be used for graduate student education. This is because the system is capable of developing high-end controls and testing complex controller systems. Equipping this system will enhance our MS program curricula and research in the field of dynamical systems.

Does it meet tech fee criteria?: First and foremost, the project will impact the intellectual climate at Miami University. MicroLabBox and Control Desk (the advanced control education kit) are capable of rapid control prototyping and hardware-in-the-loop-simulation, which are emerging topics for the advanced control education. Access to the real-time control system will attract more undergraduate students who are interested in conducting undergraduate research or independent study projects in the field of dynamical systems. It will also increase the participation of students in the Undergraduate Research Forum, presenting the results of their projects in the field. In addition to individual student projects, the system will be used in various MME courses, including MME 448/449 senior capstone design course for team projects. The system will enhance the quality of several MME courses, from a freshmen level course (MME 102 – Introduction to Problem Solving and Design) to a senior level course (MME 436 – Control Systems), in a variety of ways (class demonstrations, lab assignments, etc.). Miami University has a site license for MATLAB, most popular engineering program/software, but some of its tools are not fully exploited, particularly Simulink (a graphical programming environment for modeling, simulating and analyzing multi-domain dynamic systems). MicroLabBox system can seamlessly integrate MATLAB/Simulink for simulation, modeling, and raid control prototyping. Thus, the project will have a synergistic effect in dynamic systems education, tapping into the existing resources.

How will you assess the project?: The primary objective of the project is to make a significant contribution to enhancing student experiences in control education and projects in dynamic systems. To assess the efficacy of this project, firstly, the number of student projects involving the system each semester and the number student presentationsbased on projects utilized the system at the annual Undergraduate Research Forum will be collected. These data along with the surveys to the students will be used to assess the project. Additionally, faculty input on how the availability of the advanced control kit has enabled the inclusion of new assignments and/or demonstrations that entail design related critical thinking and quality data collection in their courses will be gathered.

Have you received tech fee funding in the past?: Yes

What results were achieved?: Title: Upgrading a Mechanical Systems Simulation Software for Engineering Courses Amount: $3,985, Award Date: 2011 The goal of the project was to upgrade a mechanical system simulation software for MME students. A total of 25 student copies of Working Model 9.0 was purchased. The Working Model software installed in CEC computer labs and they are available for student use. Among other MME courses, the software is most actively used in MME 311 (Dynamic Modeling of Mechanical Systems). Since 2011, each semester, nearly 100 engineering students have used the software. In MME 311, it has been used for class demonstration to visualize complicated motions of particles and rigid bodies and explain complex concepts related to motions, computational assignments. Student evaluations demonstrated that the award significantly their educational experience within the software.

Did you submit a final report?: Yes

What happens to this project in year two?: There shouldn’t be any expenses to maintain the hardware (a control box). Operating expenses associated with upgrading software will be covered by the MME department.

Hardware: Microlab Box Bundles, $16,250

Total Budget: $16,250