Teaching Hardware Design with Online Laboratories

Teaching Hardware Design with Online Laboratories

Reza Hashemian (Northern Illinois University, USA) and Timothy R. Pearson (Northern Illinois University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-186-3.ch002
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Abstract

This chapter focuses on a cost-effective, hybrid remote laboratory for hardware design. The laboratory is based on a reconfigurable internal debugging interface coupled with an “in the cloud” development and simulation system. Deployment, scalability, administration, and security concerns are discussed, and the possibility of hardware abstraction is introduced. Finally, the remote use of standard test equipment is detailed, examples of typical system usage and workflow are presented, and sample cost tables are provided.
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Background

Remote access laboratory development and growth have accelerated sharply during the last decade. As a result, a greater number of remote laboratory types have been developed and are in use today (Gomes & García-Zubia, 2007). Most of the remote laboratory systems target certain disciplines, mainly engineering and computer science, and are utilized for teaching and training purposes. Several examples follow.

Labshare: This project is jointly developed by the University of Technology, Sydney; Curtin University of Technology; Queensland University of Technology; RMIT University; and the University of South Australia. Labshare's mission is to create a nationally shared network of remote laboratories for student use, thereby improving educational outcomes while reducing overall cost (Lowe et al., 2009).

WebLab-Deusto: This open-source distributed Remote Lab was developed at the University of Deusto, Spain in 2001. It provides remote experimenting with hardware such as FPGAs, CPLDs, and PIC microcontrollers (García-Zubía et al., 2010).

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