Thursday 21 January 2010

ELVIS @ university!

Standardised for new mechatronic engineering course

Kingston University (GB) recently purchased thirty NI ELVIS (National Instruments Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite) units to equip its state-of-the-art laboratories for its new Mechatronic Engineering course, which started in 2009.

“We chose to standardise on NI hardware and software tools in order to provide the best learning experience for our engineering students” said Gordana Collier, Senior Lecturer at Kingston University (in picture left with Robert Morton of National Instruments). “Our strategy is to adopt an ‘applied approach to teaching and research’ which was the driving force behind the investment. We are very passionate about hands-on, project-based learning being more engaging and producing better skilled, better prepared engineers for the workplace. NI ELVIS, LabVIEW and Multisim help us deliver this experience to students and more effectively support their learning.”

Mechatronics: An Integrated Approach
Clarence De Silva; available through ISA

This book offers a strong foundation in such core subjects as dynamic system modeling, electronic components and analysis, mechanical components and analysis, robotics, sensors/transducers and instrumentation, stepper motors, dc and ac motors and drives, hydraulic and pneumatic actuators, fluidics, automatic control, digital processing and hardware, communication and interfacing, software tools, design, and prototyping. Appendices provide additional background on Laplace and Fourier transform techniques, and software tools including MATLAB®, SIMULINK®, and LabVIEW®. The book emphasizes practical situations and applications with numerous worked examples, problems, and exercises. An entire chapter is devoted to practical case studies.
Head of School of Mechanical and Automotive Engineering, Professor Andrzej Ordys pointed out: “Our MSc in Mechatronics combines strong theoretical background with practical hands-on experience. We believe that this addresses the needs of students and employers. Moreover, we are seeing an ever increasing importance of applied electronics in virtually all engineering disciplines; for example in the automotive industry. Thus it is our imperative to enhance the electronics content and delivery in all our courses, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Furthermore, the NI equipment has already proven very useful in our research projects.”

NI ELVIS, based on National Instruments LabVIEW, features an integrated suite of twelve instruments in one compact form factor and is ideal for hands-on learning. Educators use it to teach concepts in circuit design, instrumentation, control, telecommunications and embedded/MCU theory.

Each unit in Kingston’s lab is accompanied by a Freescale microprocessor teaching board. Several experiments from Quansar, including an inverted pendulum are also used with NI ELVIS. A suite of fifteen National Instruments CompactRIOs have been deployed in research and teaching of advanced control.
“NI has always been passionate about enabling STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) education and inspiring future engineers and scientists” said Robert Morton, National Instruments UK & Ireland Managing Director. “Now, more than ever, we believe universities need to deliver a healthy stream of innovative, creative and talented engineers and scientists to address some of the serious challenges industry, and the world, faces in the 21st Century. NI is proud to be able to supply tools to help universities do this.”

To continue developing the strong partnership between NI and Kingston University, National Instruments UK & Ireland is a regular participant in the Industrial Advisory Board, held at the University campus. The role of the Industrial Advisory Board is to shape and tailor university courses to meet industry needs, ensuring graduates achieve the relevant technical skills, knowledge and experience to take a proactive role in industry.

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