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This paper presents an educational laboratory that has been implemented for the practical education in sensors, data acquisition, and basic control skills. The use of the laboratory has been optimized by the availability of a remote access infrastructure that allows the definition and booking of time slots related to the laboratory sites. Given the many kinds of existing sensors, conditioning circuits, and actuators, setting up an educational framework is a complex (and expensive) task, even if only the main design alternatives are taken into account. An additional and fundamental issue to be considered for the optimization of any educational resource or teaching/learning methodology is the possibility to adapt it to the capabilities of different profiles, i.e., students enrolled in different courses. The proposed solution has been designed to be used by both nonexperienced students, who act as plain users testing predefined experiments, and advanced ones, who can demonstrate the design skills they have learnt, by developing their own applications and conditioning circuits. Accordingly, the remote access infrastructure allows different kinds of users to be defined, whose capabilities, restrictions, and software requirements depend on their level of knowledge.
Date of Publication: June 2008