Increasingly engineering education can no longer focus on a singular domain area. Complex systems that combine electrical circuits, controllers, mechanical sub-systems and heavy computational power means that students need to be educated in what were previously separate engineering disciplines. It is at the intersection of many of these areas that we have seen the development of the field of mechatronics.
The NI ELVIS RIO Control Module adds the precision of deterministic timing and control that is offered through a FPGA, to the industry-standard instrumentation and measurements of NI ELVIS. This solution is the beginning of the educational possibilities with National Instruments newest mechatronics education solution. Leveraging the MXP connector interface popularized globally by the release of myRIO there is an ecosystem of courseware and accessories.
The complete NI ELVIS + NI ELVIS RIO Control Module solution was developed specifically for the educational market and provides students with the unique combination of instrumentation and a fully programmable controller. With this platform we have the features and capabilities to scale complex problems in all new areas with a form factor where any student can experiment and be placed on the path of discovery with tangible experiences.
1. Teaching with the Quanser Qnet Mechatronics Systems Board
The Mechatronics Systems add-on board integrates the fundamentals of mechatronics sensors, actuators, and interfaces with mechanical and programming principles, to provide a system-level experience with mechatronics.
The system is turnkey, and includes a four-bar linkage system, DC motors, encoders, and a camera. Student labs vary in complexity and activities. Process labs focus on functionality and testing of individual processes. System-level labs challenge students to use the combination of individual processes to complete tasks such as vision, image processing and low-level signal aspects such as PWM generation.
Key areas of study with the mechatronics systems board, includes complex robotics kinematics and control. The board includes courseware and functionality to learn machine vision, image processing and low-level signal aspects such as PWM generation.
Key Features: Two degree of freedom robotic arm, camera to capture and analyze imagery and PCB silk for map view
With the Qnet mechatronics system board you are able to teach applications and topics such as: Advanced robotics, autonomous driving, forward and inverse kinematics, PID position control, trajectory generation and image processing. Every lab includes LabVIEW software resources, student lab manuals, and instructor answer manual. Students learn and apply skills in image processing, motion control, task control, and more.
2. Completing the Mechatronics Laboratory Experience
To teach individual concepts that are foundational to topics such as those presented by the Qnet Mechatronics Systems board, there are specific boards from Quanser to help address topics such as:
- Sensors with the Qnet Mechatronics Sensors Boards
- Actuators with the Qnet Actuators Boards
- Interfacing with the Qnet Interfacing Board
In addition to these complete turnkey solutions, are smaller open-ended kits that enable you to define your own experimentation and projects that are completely hands-on and student learning focussed. These dedicated kits include:
- Mechatronics Accessory Kit (motors, sensors, loose components)
- Embedded Systems Kit (sensors, devices and displays)
Combining this portfolio of mechatronics boards from Quanser provides educators in mechatronics engineering to teach many of the key laboratory based topics to provide students with an incredible foundation for building their engineering intuition.
3. Teaching Power Electronics and Power Systems
The smart management and control of electrical energy generation, transmission, distribution, and utilization is one of the key areas of study and research in Electrical Engineering departments around the world. In order for students to build the necessary understanding of these key areas of study, they must learn foundational topics such as: Voltage and current regulation, DC-AC converters and DC-DC converters
But this must all lead to more advanced understanding of how these power concepts are effectively integrated into ubiquitous systems that are responsible for power generation, rectification and distribution
With NI ELVIS and it’s expanding ecosystem there is a complete solution for teaching these power topics from foundational to more complex systems.
4. Qnet Energy Conversion Board
The Qnet Energy Conversion board enables you to teach topics such as power generation, AC/DC and DC/AC conversions and switch-mode-power-supplies
Similar to the aforementioned mechatronics solution, the system is turnkey with courseware and all of the various areas of study on a singular board. Student labs vary in complexity and activities. With the Qnet mechatronics system board you are able to teach applications such as three-phase power generation and distribution, by focussing on topics such as converter operation (open and closed loop), passive rectification, diode bridge and power generation.
Traditional systems that teach these types of topics regularly require large systems (the size of a wall) that limit the amount of time available for individual students to participate in laboratories (1 system for multiple students). There is also a significant cost barrier to purchasing such systems. With NI ELVIS, the NI ELVIS RIO Control Module, as well as the Qnet Energy Conversion board you are able to effectively teach those same concepts in a significantly smaller space and at a fraction of the cost.
Key Features: Brushless DC motors, brushed DC motors buck and boost DC/DC converter and single phase inverter
5. Completing the Power Electronics and Systems Laboratory
To teach individual concepts that are foundational to topics such as those presented by the Qnet energy conversion board, there are specific boards from additional partners, including Integrator, which enable us to provide students with the needed electrical background. These boards provide background on:
- Electronics Engineering (DC and AC Circuits)
- Active Components/Operational Amplifiers
- Power Electronics
Combining this portfolio of mechatronics boards from Quanser and Integrator provides educators in Electrical Engineering with many of the key laboratory based topics to build intuition in power electronics and systems.
With the addition of the NI ELVIS RIO Control Module, the NI ELVIS is now extended to multiple new application areas. For mechatronics and power, the RIO Control Module builds upon an existing ecosystem of courseware, plants and experimentation that ensures that any NI ELVIS based laboratory can be used for the complete continuum of courses from first year to fourth year.
6. Next Steps
To learn more about the NI ELVIS RIO Control Module and the advanced NI ELVIS ecosystem, please review the following resources:
- Learn more about the QNET Mechatronic Systems Board and complete courseware offering
- Learn more about the QNET Energy Conversion Board and complete courseware offering
- See NI ELVIS RIO Control Module pricing