Remote laboratory

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This article is about the use of telecommunications in conducting experiments. For India's virtual labs projectl, see Virtual Labs (India).

Remote laboratory (also known as online laboratory, remote workbench) is the use of telecommunications to remotely conduct real (as opposed to virtual) experiments, at the physical location of the operating technology, whilst the scientist is utilizing technology from a separate geographical location. Remote laboratory comprehends one or more remote experiments.

Benefits[edit]

The benefits of remote laboratories are predominantly in engineering education:[1]

  • Relax time constraints, adapting to pace of each student, if there was insufficient time in lab
  • Relax geographical constraints, disregarding the physical locality of the student
  • Economies of scale, as sharing labs allows sharing of large fixed costs of traditional buildings
  • Improve quality of experiment, as it can be repeated to clarify doubtful measurements in lab
  • Improve effectiveness, as student may improve effectiveness of time spent at lab by rehearsal
  • Improved safety and security, as no risk of catastrophic failure

Researchers from the Labshare describe the advantages as being:

  • Increasing accessibility to laboratories by a factor of 4 within 3 years, since current lab utilization is less than 10%
  • Decrease fixed and variable expenditure by 50%, since faculty budget spends between 15-40% on lab infrastructure and personnel, around $400m per year
  • Improve learning objectives and outcomes to support better learning
  • Enhance sharing of knowledge, expertise and experience
  • Reduce start-up costs of laboratories

This allows for economies of scale production.

Another benefit is that this technology can be integrated into Moodle,[2] which is probably the most used Learning Management System around the world.

Disadvantages[edit]

The disadvantages differ depending on the type of remote laboratory and the topic area. The general disadvantages compared to a proximal (hands on) laboratory are:

  • Lack of hands on trouble shooting and debugging experience.
  • Lack of equipment setup experience.


Future direction[edit]

Current system capabilities include:

  • Online session booking, utilizing a database and online interface
  • Authentication to satisfy security requirements
  • Desktop, generalized screen for chat, emoticon, time limit, bandwidth limit
  • Live lab camera which allows panning, tilting, zooming, showing, hiding, refresh
  • Circuit builder (this is just simulative)
  • Function generator (this is just simulative)
  • Digital multimeter (this is just simulative)
  • Oscilloscope (this is just simulative)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ferreira, Sousa, Nafalski, Machotka, Nedic (2010). "Collaborative learning based on a micro-webserver remote test controller", Bridgeport, University of South Australia, p. 10.
  2. ^ EJSApp Moodle Plugin

Related pages[edit]

External links[edit]