Design and implementation of a framework for remotely accessible instruments
Remotely accessible instruments and experiments enhance the experience of students by providing a remote interface to a physical device. Photorealistic rendering of these devices makes the graphical interfaces easy to understand, to use and to learn. Students perform their exercises at home just as in a real lab so they can apply their experience directly when working on location. Needless to say: remote labs are a key to raise the student’s interest and improve self-paced learning. The implementation of a generic remote control interface for existing instruments and the acquisition and visualization of data is one milestone on the road to the future in distance learning. To avoid obstacles on this way, the system architecture should be understandable, modular and easy to extend, so laboratories with different hardware could be integrated in the lab environment. The client software should be platform independent so the users can quickly gain hands-on-experience because soft- and hardware problems (e.g. installations) are of no concern. We report experience in developing such a software framework and review some of its capabilities by using an actual deployment as an example.
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