Preparing Students for the Age of IoT

Michel Lévis
Applications Engineer

Quanser attended the Dynamic Systems and Control Conference (DSCC) 2017 this year and delivered a new workshop entitled Emerging Techniques in Control and Mechatronics Education: Preparing Students for the Age of IoT. This session presents some of the recent work done by Quanser in collaboration with leading universities to explore and develop modern applications and technology for adapting traditional control and mechatronics teaching to cyber-physical, IoT, and other distributed smart systems applications.

IoT is not a new concept and has already been established in certain sectors such as for smart homes. But now, more than ever, IoT is a stage of rapid development and is being implemented or will be used in different areas. What skills to teach our graduating engineers in order to prepare them for the age of IoT is still in its infancy. This workshop aimed to give some ideas on how it can be taught in the context of mechatronics by using servo and aerospace laboratory platforms. By bringing together students, professors, and professionals with different backgrounds, we received great feedback!

The Quanser QUBE-Servo 2 myRIO and Quanser AERO myRIO systems were both used to showcase two different IoT communication protocols: Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) and Distributed Data Service (DDS). The MQTT paradigm depicted in the figure below was used to control the inverted pendulums on the QUBE-Servo 2 systems and is demonstrated in this video

As shown, the MQTT protocol uses a centralized approach where a broker is used to manage the topics that are either published or subscribed by the different nodes. The nodes, in this case, being the QUBE-Servo 2 myRIO with the Inverted Pendulum attachment. The message is therefore done using a device-to-server (D2S) architecture.

 

The Quanser AERO IoT demos uses the DDS IoT protocol. DDS is based on a decentralized device to device (D2D) paradigm. The topics are therefore published and subscribed between the two nodes without going through a broker, as illustrated in the image below. A video of this example can be viewed here.

Quanser is planning on doing more IoT workshops at leading institutions around the world to get more international feedback on the protocols and software used in various IoT applications and how to best teach them. Further, there are plans on implementing more in-house demos using both different software and hardware platforms.

Download the models for QUBE-Servo 2 IoT DDS Control (RTI) and Quanser AERO IoT DDS Demo (TCP-IP) from QuanserShare.