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Integrating Mixed-Reality Remote Experiments Into Virtual Learning Environments Using Interchangeable Components

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2 Author(s)
Schaf, F.M. ; Fed. Univ. of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil ; Pereira, C.E.

This paper presents a proposal to integrate mixed-reality remote experiments into virtual learning environments (VLEs) using the concept of interchangeable components, which can represent either real or virtual devices or software in industrial automation systems. Combinations of real and virtual technical plants and automation systems are used in different learning scenarios for teaching control and automation concepts. Configurations of interchangeable components can be dynamically created via a VLE by configuring database parameters. The proposed system includes a remote Web interface that follows a thin client strategy and is designed to be compatible with Web browsers, including basic Java support. As the architecture that supports the integration of virtual and real components is located on the server side, remote students/users are only concerned with the experiment and do not need to be aware of the system that provides this integration and flexibility. In the current version, interchangeable components are integrated via an Object Linking and Embedding for Process Control interface, which is a widely adopted standard in the control and automation area. The proposed approach also provides practical and theoretical support for experiments within a collaborative virtual environment. This paper includes a description of four experiments developed using the proposed environment and concepts.

Published in:

Industrial Electronics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 12 )

Date of Publication:

Dec. 2009

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