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Development system

Teaching aid for universities

The Micro-Lab-Box by Space is a control system development platform for laboratory use. It makes creating, optimizing, and testing controllers and implementing data acquisition applications possible for industry and academia.

(Photo: Sppace)

WITH ITS COMBINATION OF A SIMULINK-PROGRAMMABLE real-time processor and the latest Kintex FPGA (field-programmable gate array), the device provides the versatility required for research and development. It was designed in a form factor that does not take up more desk space than a conventional laptop computer. Micro-Lab-Box, with over 100 I/O channels of various types, lets engineers develop applications in robotics, medical engineering, electric drives, renewable energy, consumer appliances, industrial products, automotive engineering, and aerospace.
The system is also a comprehensive teaching and experiment aid for universities and training institutions that want to use the latest industry standard technology to equip their students with the skills necessary for innovation.

Computing power and I/Os

The product features a 2 GHz dual-core real-time processor (Freescale PowerPC QorIQ P5020) capable of achieving fast closed-loop cycle times of less than 15 µs, depending on the application. For fast control applications, the integrated FPGA can be used for high-speed computation. The FPGA technology allows for parallel, exact and fast I/O processing. It includes over 100 I/O interfaces such as analog I/O and digital I/O, and also specialized interfaces like CAN, Ethernet, and position encoders. Additionally, its integrated sensor supply provides power for sensors without any additional laboratory devices.

The unit is available in two panel variants: the top-panel variant provides Sub-D and BNC connectors, making wiring easy when the unit is used on a laboratory desk. The front-panel variant provides Sub-D connectors, to integrate the Micro-Lab-Box in a stack of laboratory devices. The connector information is printed on each unit and is also included in the I/O blockset of the device's implementation software.

Autonomous use

The product can be used with or without a host PC. In autonomous mode, without the host PC, the real-time application is loaded from the on-board flash memory when the device is started. A programmable buzzer and programmable set of LEDs provide status information of the real-time application to the user. A USB connector lets users save data to a mass storage device. The product is supported by a Dspace software package including Real-Time Interface (RTI) for model-based I/O integration into Simulink and Control Desk Next Generation. Graphical instruments within the Control Desk Next Generation provide access to real-time application variables and parameters during run time. In addition to these tools, the company offers further software modules that complement the Micro-Lab-Box in various use cases.