Typical mechatronic systems are a combination of advanced technologies involving several disciplines. This multidisciplinary approach to the development of industrial applications provides great opportunities for the implementation of e-learning environments and collaborative schemes. Engineering education, in particular, benefits from many of these advances, among which, virtual instrumentation is a useful tool for the development of virtual environments, e-learning spaces and, particularly, remote laboratories. This chapter describes the implementation of web-based laboratories that allow the remote operation of experiments used as training exercises in undergraduate engineering courses. The remote laboratories were developed using LabVIEW® software, and they enable remote control and monitoring of laboratory equipment, allowing engineering students to perform experiments in real time, at their own pace, from anywhere, and whenever is suitable for them. Besides the experimental training that the web-based laboratories provide to students, the system is also a powerful teaching tool since real-time demonstrations of the experiments can be performed, and they also can be simultaneously monitored by a group of students. This approach is highly beneficial for engineering schools in developing countries, as resources can be shared through the Internet. A description of the system and three proposed experiments is presented, together with the experimental results.
Part of the book: Mechatronic Systems in Engineering