|31 Jul 2012
At Vanderbilt University, the paddle is the focus of the ME 234 System Dynamics Laboratory. System Dynamics is junior-level mechanical engineering course and the laboratory is an additional component of the course where students work in small teams of 3-4 students.
With the support of MathWorks, they have transitioned all of the haptic paddle software over from C to the Matlab/Simulink Environment. Using this framework, students learn to create models of the haptic paddle in Simulink and to interface these models to their paddles in a closed-loop feedback control exercise. Students also have the opportunity to develop and interact with virtual environments in Simulink, enabling two-way interaction with the paddles. Further, using Matlab's built-in system identification and analysis capabilities, students can quickly analyze a system's response to various inputs. This new platform allows students to take on a much greater role in modeling and controlling the haptic paddle and the virtual systems they interact with while simultaneously developing valuable experience with practical engineering software.