How to open a local electronics laboratory for remote access

Document type: Conference Presentations
Peer reviewed: No
Full text:
Author(s): Ingvar Gustavsson
Title: How to open a local electronics laboratory for remote access
Translated title: Att öppna övningslaboratorier för fjärrstyrning
Conference name: Interactive Computer Aided Blended Learning ICBL2008
Year: 2008
ISBN: 978-3-89958-466-0
Publisher: International Association of Online Engineering
City: Florianopolis, Brazil
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Engineering - Dept. of Signal Processing (Sektionen för teknik – avd. för signalbehandling)
School of Engineering S- 372 25 Ronneby
+46 455 38 50 00
Authors e-mail:
Language: English
Abstract: A local electronics laboratory can be opened for remote access using the VISIR Open Lab Platform. This is a way to open the laboratory for students on campus and off cam-pus 24/7 without any risk for themselves or the experimental equipment. The VISIR Open Lab Platform is a server/client application enabling learners to perform physical electrical experiments described in lab instruction manuals over the internet using a web browser. Virtual front panels and a virtual breadboard displayed on the client PCs are used to control the physical equipment connected to the server. The server is a time shared online workbench giving the learners the impression that they are working in a real laboratory. Such a workbench supplements a local laboratory equipped with work-benches comprising oscilloscope, function generator, DMM, triple power supply, and a solderless breadboard.
Apart from Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden, where the platform has been created two universities, University of Deusto in Spain and FH Campus Wien in Aus-tria, have already implemented copies of the workbench and use them in their regular education. Other universities are ready to start. Thus, the workbench is being used at universities but it is perfect for schools and for vocational education as well. It is easy for teachers to introduce their own existing lab assignments. A modem connection and a web browser with Flash player are sufficient for the learner.
The software required to set up such a workbench was published approximately a year ago under a GNU GPL licence. Apart from a standard PC the hardware required to join the VISIR Group and implement a workbench is a PXI chassis with instruments from National Instruments and a switching matrix. The components to be used by the learners are to be provided by the teachers and installed in the matrix. Universities, schools and other teaching organizations are invited to participate and open their local laboratories for remote access in order to be able to produce engineers with a solid and documented lab experience but without significantly increased cost per student.
This tutorial is divided into four parts. They are about:
• a general overview of the platform and its performance from the perspectives of the student and the teacher
• lab course administration
• how to provide components for remote users and how to avoid damage of ex-perimental equipment
• A hands-on session, where the participants are invited to perform experiments using their laptops. Only WLAN and Flash Player are required.
The presentations, notes pages and material for the hands-on session will be available at Please download it and bring it to the tutorial.
Subject: Signal Processing\General
Keywords: Electronics, Lab, experiment