User Case Studies

Today, over 2,500 universities, colleges, research institutions and companies around the world use Quanser solutions. Here are some examples of how they apply them to enhance teaching experience of students and to accelerate their academic and industrial research or to achieve their business goals.
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Educational Applications

University of West Indies Case Study
University of the West Indies, Trinidad-Tobago: How to upgrade a control lab and benefit from buying over building equipment in-house.

The BSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering course at the University of the West Indies is a British-style, three-year program designed primarily for students coming out of the Caribean high school system. With a relatively short program length, students are exposed to an intense concentration of technology courses. To balance the demands of an intense curriculum, industrial needs and a frugal university budget, Dr. Copeland turned to Quanser for assistance in updating his undergraduate lab. Read the whole story >>
Milwaukee School of Engineering Case Study
Milwaukee School of Engineering, USA: How Quanser helps captivate, motivate and graduate MSOE Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science engineers.

Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) draws ambitious students seeking personal and professional success. Students learn how things work in theory, then use that knowledge to make things work. The Department of Electrical and Computer Science is where 'making things work' happens. Originally, the department did not have a laboratory for control systems. Real-time solutions and integration with Simulink helped convince the department to equip the newly established controls laboratory with Quanser rotary motion control experiments. Read the whole story >>
Utah State University Case Study Utah State University, USA: How to attract more engineering students through systematic lab expansion.

Utah State University relies on its reputation of intellectual and technological leadership and progressive teaching and research - represented for example by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Back in the 2000's, faculty of ECE started to understand the value of of teaching its students multidisciplinary skills, combining mechanical, electronic, control systems and computer engineering in one subject - Mechatronics. In 2002, they started to build a lab dedicated to the subject, which now offers world-class, hands-on experience to the undergraduate and graduate students. How did they achieve it? Definitely not overnight. Read the whole story >>
Queen's University Case Study Queen's University, Canada: How to save funds, space and time while expanding your engineering program.

The Faculty of Applied Science at Queen's University was facing the same kinds of growth and space challenges that are familiar to engineering schools around the world. With a diverse range of ten unique engineering programs - and limited facilities - the staff at Queen's created a co-operative, state-of-the-art space that serves all engineering disciplines. The faculty decided to go with Quanser, because Quanser equipment offered modularity and flexibility - you can use it for control, you can use it for robotics and you can add different accessories to each servo module and create a new experiment out of it. Read the whole story >>
Prairie View A&M University Case Study Prairie View A&M University, USA: Compatibility with LabVIEW overcomes limits in applications.

With the goal of preparing students for real-world engineering, the Department of Engineering Technology at Praire View A&M University (PVAMU) is committed to build state-of-the-art laboratories. Here students can learn from exposure to the most recent technology what they will need in their future jobs. The major obstacle in realizing this goal, only too-well known to many other universities, is obtaining necessary funds. The department wished to have some control platform that could be universally utilized for many subjects, for both teaching and research. Quanser was able to provide such a platform - and its compatibility with LabVIEW allowed PVAMU to extend its investment in the National Instruments platform. Read the whole story >>
McMaster University Case Study McMaster University: Increasing enrollment by re-engineering biomedical education.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada has a unique undergraduate program that combines seemingly disparate studies: Electrical and Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Shahin Sirouspour, an Associate Professor in the department, became deeply interested in medical robotics after joining McMaster in 2003. He noticed the need for engineers who understand medical sciences. Or maybe it was a need for medical practitioners who understand engineering? He realized there was nothing in medical robotics, especially for the undergrad level, that he could go directly and buy. But he was convinced Quanser engineers were the right people to create custom devices for his lab. Read the whole story >>
University of Waterloo Case Study University of Waterloo, Canada: With the support of QUARC, successful mechatronics course is achievable.

Pardon Dr. David Wang for speaking quickly. He doesn’t have much time. This popular professor teaches mechatronics at Canada’s celebrated engineering school, the University of Waterloo, and doesn’t mince words about the challenges his students face. To be successful, he believes they need to complete real-world projects lightning fast but without compromising their learning. “Typically, you have to finish something in one term, four months.” And there is a lot to accomplish in such a short time. Anything that saves students time, without compromising learning, is a boon. Dr. Wang is very positive regarding QUARC as a productive teaching and learning tool. Students rapidly prototype control startegies, so they don't have to go back and do evertything from scratch. Read the whole story >> 
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Case Study Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, USA: Going hands-on to captivate students.

“If presented properly, an engineering course could provoke some science-fiction aspects of robotics to motivate students,” suggests Assistant Professor Dr. Robert Wood. Professor Wood teaches the undergraduate Introduction to Robotics course in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. For the practical side of the course, Professor Wood needed a multiple degrees of freedom robot. He believed his students needed open-architecture software and tools they are already comfortable with, tools they were exposed to in other engineering courses. Ultimately, the turn-key solution provided by Quanser allowed Dr. Wood's robotics class to focus on rapid prototyping control strategies, without monotonous coding and writing drivers. Read the whole story >> 
Tsinghua University Tsinghua University, China: QUARC helps steer student Automatic Control Design Contest to success.

In China, where higher education receives extensive support, Tsinghua University is rated among country’s most elite schools for engineering. Control seems to capture the imagination of the young, especially when students can apply theory to practice. That's why in the fall of 2009, the university's Automation Department held an open competition fpr its undergraduate engineering students. The department also wanted to enhance undergraduate students' ability to apply control theory to practice, and Quanser QUARC real-time control software leveled the playing field. Read the whole story >>
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Case Study University or Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA: The Control Engineering Professor's Swiss Army Knife.

Dr. Mark Spong is the celebrated Dean at the University of Texas at Dallas School of Engineering & Computer Science. Throughout his career, Dr. Spong has recognized the increasing importance of teaching control concepts with hands-on experiments. Earlier in his career, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Spong wanted to build a modular system that would incorporate the pendubot, reaction wheel pendulum and couple of other experiments like the rotary pendulum. It also occured to Dr. Spong that such a system could make a significant difference to engineering students everywhere. But how could he get it to market? Read the whole story >>
University of Utah Case Study University of Utah, USA: A Modern Control Lab Improves Classroom Teaching and Recruitment.

Dr. Stephen Mascaro of the University of Utah modestly considers himself a roboticist and a “jack of all trades”. An Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department, he divides his time between teaching and research. One of his most intriguing research activities is his Fingernail Sensing Project, which seeks to unobtrusively measure human touch forces at the fingertips. This would enable more natural studies of human grasping, and ultimately enable human-robot interaction that has robots intuitively understanding and responding to human needs. Dr. Mascaro teaches courses in robotics, mechatronics and control at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. His focus on instruction is what brought him together with Quanser. Read the whole story >>
Cornell University Case Study Cornell University, USA: Shaking some reality into civil engineering freshmen.

The first year of study for engineering students at Cornell University was all work and no play. “First semester freshmen are overloaded with homework, usually very abstract mathematics and physics,” said Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Professor at the Cornell School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  He recognized that his students were immersed in theory and could benefit from a dose of practical application. He sensed they would respond positively to the opportunity to build structures that must withstand earthquakes. After doing some research online and consulting with his professional contacts, Dr. Ingraffea contacted Quanser about their Shake Tables. It's an earthquake simulator that literally shakes model structures. Read the whole story >>
University Consortium on Instructional Shake Tables Case Study University Consortium on Instructional Shake Tables: Enhancing civil engineering programs with earthquake simulators.

“Having the ability to simulate an earthquake gives us much better understanding of building performance,” says Professor Shirley Dyke from Purdue University. Professor Dyke is the driving force behind UCIST – the University Consortium on Instructional Shake Tables she helped start in 1999. The main goal of UCIST is to bring earthquake simulators to classrooms - so that students early in their undergraduate courses get a chance to develop understanding of structural dynamics and controls principles through hands-on experiments in addition to theory. “Hands-on experiments seem to be particularly effective for teaching basic concepts in dynamics and control,” continues Prof. Dyke, “they are attractive supplement to the rather conventional content of several courses.” Read the whole story >>
University of Cincinnati Case Study University of Cincinnati, USA: Better grads and innovative research - a professor's winning formula.

Many college professors live for their research. The charismatic Associate Professor Kelly Cohen of the University of Cincinnati’s Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Department is a shining example. He wanted to attract more students by offering courses they find compelling. “My first priority was getting students excited about working with controls… and getting to touch and feel.” To get that touch and feel, he required new equipment. When students experience engaging hands-on experiments, they become excited and want to take his courses. And when there are more students applying, he says, “I can become selective.” Read the whole story >>
Concordia University Case Study Concordia University, Canada: Hands-on education and research needs solved by partnership with Quanser.

As an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Concordia University, Dr. Youmin Zhang puts in very full days and weeks, both as a teacher and a lead researcher. His specific areas of interest are avionics, guidance, navigation and flight control of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Passionate about preparing students to become industry-ready engineers, he enthusiastically brings his latest research into the classroom. Dr. Zhang had one overriding need: to engage and motivate his glight control course students through hands-on learning instead of strictly theoretical knowledge. Read the whole story >>

Academic Research Applications

University of Toronto Case Study University of Toronto, Canada: Engineering better research.

His problem was three-fold. To conduct innovative control-based engineering research, Manfredi Maggiore's department needed financial, intellectual and practical support. Associate Professor with the Systems Controls Group in the University of Toronto's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Maggiore "wanted to create a high-precision device that is capable of positioning an object placed on a moving platform in three degrees of freedom with high accuracy.' Dr. Maggiore considered building and designing these experiments himself but too many engineering hours would be required. Read the whole story >>
State University of New York at Buffalo Case Study State University of New York at Buffalo, USA: The key to better research results in mechatronic systems.

Professor Venkat Krovi, an Associate Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo came to Quanser looking for a means to quickly physically prototype a yet non-existent 6 DOF motion platform for his latest experimental research. In his own words, to "enhance human-manipulation capabilities, such as dexterity, strength and skill with articulated mechanical systems". Applications of his research range widely from distributed payload manipulation by robot-teams to remote teleoperation with force-scaled feedback and haptically-enhanced virtual surgival and driving simulators. Read the whole story >>
Western University Case Study Western University, Canada: Partnership in haptics research leads to 'surgical' breakthrough.

An intensely dynamic and productive engineer, Dr. Rajni Patel of the Western University is constantly reinventing processes to make sense of his world. His research projects focus on the application of robotics in medicine, specifically in minimal invasive surgery and therapy. Dr. Patel regularly crosses traditional academic boundaries. He's the main architect of the blending of engineering and medicine at the Western University. It was in this capacity as a multidisciplinary researcher that he found himself in a far reaching collaboration with the team at Quanser, known for its enthusiasm for engineering innovation. They shared his keen interests in robotics and haptics. Read the whole story >>

University of Central Florida Case Study University of Central Florida, USA: Accelerating research by allowing two programming languages to talk.

Dr. Aman Behal of the University of Central Florida (UCF) is an Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering with a special interest in robotics research that leads to improving the lives of people with physical disabilities. He runs the Assistive Robotics Lab at UCF, where he and his research assistant, Zhao Wang, are adding intelligence to a commercially-produced robotic arm to help paraplegics perform everyday tasks through a variety of touch or audio commands. With Quanser’s assistance, he found a way to integrate programming languages and more quickly prototype a working model of the robot arm. Read the whole story >>
University of Victoria Case Study University of Victoria, Canada: Driving haptic-based rehabilitation research further and faster.

Dr. Daniela Constantinescu of the University of Victoria in British Columbia is a talented engineering educator who is able to bring a number of cross-disciplinary engineering areas to bear on her research. Her background in mechatronics, mechanical engineering, robotics and electrical engineering has allowed her to progress research projects centering on haptics. One of her areas of interest is full-body 6 DOF interaction in a virtual environment; another more recent project involves haptic tele-cooperation. This latter area is being realized as a far-reaching rehabilitation project designed to help solve a growing real world problem: how to ensure out-patient rehabilitation clients continue to perform their regular rehab program once they’ve returned home, with no direct engagement with rehabilitation centre staff. Read the whole story >>

Rice University Case Study Rice University, USA: Establishing the promise of rehab R&D early on with Quanser solutions.

Teacher, researcher and co-founder of a startup medical robotics company, Dr. Marcia O’Malley is committed to finding engineering solutions for physical rehabilitation challenges. An Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rice University in Houston, Texas, Dr. O’Malley runs the university’s Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab (MAHI). In that capacity she is involved in multiple rehabilitation, haptic and robotic research projects, focusing on such areas as surgical skill acquisition, haptic response fidelity, and robotic rehabilitation device development, specifically the Wrist and the RiceWrist exoskeleton for arm and forearm rehab. Dr. O'Malley needed to rely on her project's seed funding to get all the way to patient trials. Read the whole story >>

Industrial Research Applications

Canadian Space Agency Case Study Canadian Space Agency, Canada: Quanser helps CSA's Nano-satellite project

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is a world leader in the research, design and development of space robotics and cutting-edge spacecraft technologies, such as advanced satellite systems. While working on research and development for its groundbreaking nano-satellite project, CSA’s spacecraft technologies group required sophisticated real-time control tools. CSA was looking for a partner company that would be responsive and supportive, understand its complex application issues, and possess the ability to develop an adaptable, flexible platform. Read the whole story >>
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute Case Study Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Canada: Quanser revolutionizes Stroke Rehabilitation Therapy

Around the world, researchers are working to advance technology for medical assistive devices. In Canada, leading researchers and industry partners have joined forces in the Intelligent Computational Assistive Science and Technology network (ICAST) to advance intelligent technology for the assistance of seniors and people with disabilities. The aim is to develop and enhance technologies that are both effective and affordable while improving Canada’s global competitiveness. A founding partner in this unique network, Quanser has been developing state-of-the-art haptic robotic technology to create interactive, intelligent devices and software that will revolutionize medical treatment and rehabilitation methods. In partnership with the University of Toronto and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab), Quanser is developing a commercial product for limb rehabilitation in stroke victims – the Autonomous Upper-Limb Stroke Rehabilitation Device, or rehab robot. Read the whole story >>
Defence Research and Development Canada Case Study Defence Research and Development Canada: Quanser Helps DRDC Take UAV Technology to the Next Level

Currently, there is a great deal of interest in developing UAV simulators and models that can enhance platform technologies, such as flight control, and be used in a cooperative setting to enable fleets of unmanned vehicles to communicate. Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), an agency within the Department of National Defence, is undertaking UAV research for a variety of potential military applications. DRDC required the research tools and test bed on which to test its own algorithms and further its UAV research. Read the whole story >>

Industry Applications

Alcon Inc. Case Study Alcon Inc.: Quanser Brings New Level of Accuracy to Laser Eye Surgery.

In 2003, Alcon Inc. found itself facing a complex mechatronic challenge in the final stages of developing its next generation LADARVision laser eye surgical device. LADARVision allows personalized laser vision treatment to match each eye’s individual optical characteristics, delivering unmatched customized results. Despite significant investment of time and money, Alcon was unable to resolve the problem of repositioning the laser for rapid, accurate movement – a situation that requires the utmost degree of precision and reliability – for its newly designed system. After almost a year of searching for a resolution to this challenge, and concerned about meeting its product testing and launch schedule, Alcon approached Quanser – world-renowned experts in complex mechatronics and control solutions. Read the whole story >>

MDA Corporation Case Study MDA Corporation: Quanser designs solution for customized space robot.

While working on a project for NASA, the space technology experts at MDA Corporation were in need of an advanced control system for a high level robotic prototype. Because MDA’s robotic work is so specialized, there are very few companies they can approach for assistance in the design of control systems for the projects they are undertaking. In this case, MDA needed a highly specialized controller for the robotic ‘hand’ on an unmanned spacecraft that might some day be used to service space stations. Read the whole story >>
Unotchit Case Study Unotchit: Quanser control technology at the core of LongPen virtual book-signing device has far-reaching implications.

Author Margaret Atwood was exhausted, having spent weeks on book-signing tours around the world. She knew she could not keep up this pace for much longer. During one such tour, a revelation came to the exhausted writer – a vision of a remote-controlled pen that would allow her to satisfy eager, autograph-seeking fans without requiring her to board planes and live out of hotels and suitcases. But how was she to proceed? With her first vision of the LongPen Freehand Script Robot in mind, Atwood teamed up with Matthew Gibson and formed Unotchit Inc. (pronounced “you no touch it”) in 2004. The company began experimenting with ways to bring the idea to reality, which proved to be more complicated and challenging than anticipated. Read the whole story >>






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