Louisiana Tech University

Intelligent Sensors and Actuators Laboratory

Intelligent Sensors and Actuators Laboratory, located in Nethken Hall 232 at Louisiana Tech Campus, educates students and conducts research in the areas of intelligent systems, control systems, intelligent control, sensor networks, and adaptive control. The laboratory equipment is provided by grants from Louisiana Board of Regents and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology. Dr. Rastko Selmic directs the laboratory and its activities.


Laboratory Equipment

Intelligent Sensors and Actuators Laboratory has the following experimental equipment. Basic control systems modules are acquired from Quanser, mobile robots are provided by ActivMedia Robotics, and sensor node modules are acquired from Crossbow Technology.

Flexible Link

The objective of the experiment is to design the control system to command the tip position of a flexible link. The system is similar in nature to the control problems encountered in large light space structures where the weight constraints result in flexible structures that must be controlled using feedback techniques.

Figures from http://www.quanser.com

Position Servo Motor This experiment exposes students to widely used motor control concepts and techniques, giving them hands-on experience in designing feedback control systems that command the angular position of a DC servo motor.

Rate Servo Motor As with the position servo motor experiment, in the rate servo motor experiment students will design a feedback control system that commands the angular rate of a DC servo motor.

Inverted Pendulum The objective of this system is to maintain a rod in a vertically upward position. Modifications in a rodís position are corrected with movement of the cart. The inverted pendulum is an inherently unstable system. It is an important benchmark control problem.

Two Degree of Freedom Helicopter

The two degree of freedom helicopter is an experiment where students can design a control system to manipulate the pitch and yaw of a simplified 2 DOF helicopter-like system. This experiment is a coupled two-input-two-output system, suitable for multi-input multi-output control systems designs of the sort that appear in power, chemical, oil and gas, and aerospace industries.

Three Degree of Freedom Crane

The three degree of freedom crane is an experiment where students study how to design a control system to manipulate the X/Y position of a gantry crane. This experiment demonstrates the control problems associated with transporting large loads using a gantry crane.

Coupled Tanks

The coupled tanks experiment demonstrates how to control and regulate the water level in the multiple coupled tank systems. The systems consists of a pump and water basin. The water flow from the first tank flows into the second tank, and then to the main water basin.

Mobile Robots

The robot is controlled by a microprocessor and is equipped with sensors for navigation and motion control. It has onboard processing, Ethernet-based communications, and other autonomous functions. One mobile robot is equipped with the gripper so that it can be used for sensor network deployment.

Figures from

Wireless Sensor Networks, Chemical Sensor Nodes Wireless sensor network consist of wireless sensor nodes equipped with sensors for specific application, the system base station for data collection and processing, and connection to the wide area network. Sensor nodes have microprocessors for local data processing, networking, and control purposes. For the testbed prototype we have used wireless radio nodes from Crossbow Technology.  We have recently developed the first chemical sensor board and customized software application based on TinyOS Ė an open source operating system. If the concentration of a detected chemical exceeds allowed limits, sensor nodes record the data, transmit the information towards the base station, and switch to the alert mode of operation where the measurements are done more frequently.