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Extending technical education to students abroad requires the systematic development of virtual laboratories (VLs) that provide interaction with real and specialized equipment. This paper proposes a generic and modular model for VLs for robotics over the Internet. The model is defined by using Unified Modeling Language (UML) to depict its software structure and also Petri nets to describe its dynamic behavior. A development methodology uses the model as a reference framework. This proposed methodology, based on experiment specifications, customizes the framework in UML and formally translates its dynamic description, depicted by statecharts, into the Petri net formalism. Petri nets are used to analyze, control, and validate the VL dynamic design as a stable and event-synchronized telerobotic system. UML and Petri net charts obtained from the methodology supply a complete guideline for the developer to implement VLs for robotics. The model and its methodology are used to develop a remote VL for mobile robotics. This paper attempts to bridge the gap between ad hoc and formal implementation of VLs.
Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:40 , Issue: 3 )
Date of Publication: May 2010