Exploring Controls Education: A Re-Configurable Ball and Plate Platform Kit
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© 2016 American Automatic Control Council (AACC). Advancements in technology have led to new possibilities of hands-on projects within the classroom. This paper describes the development, production, and implementation of a controls education kit as a class project in a graduate controls course at Texas A&M University. The controls kit is a ball and plate balancing platform that the students can implement different control algorithms on and analyze their controller's performance. Through this process, the students gain practical experience of designing, implementing, and tuning real controllers. The kit mainly consists of an Arduino microcontroller, a USB webcam, two hobby servo motors, pieces of threaded rod, wooden dowels, and 3D-printed parts. The platform is left to be designed by the student. The kit was assembled for approximately $130, and can be expanded upon to develop further projects with minimal investment. The kit was designed to be easily shipped, and the 3D-printed parts were designed such that a hobby-grade printer can produce them. The kit provides students with hands-on experience at an affordable price-point and is easily configurable for many classroom and laboratory exercises. The relevant files and documentation can be found at http://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/156115.
author list (cited authors)
Bay, C. J., & Rasmussen, B. P.