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UTS launches world-leading online engineering lab

  • 21 May, 2008 15:43

<p>An Australian-developed remote laboratory allowing students to do physical experiments online from anywhere in the world 24 hours a day will be launched on Friday (23 May) by Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr.</p>
<p>The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Technology, Sydney says its new facility, housed in the UTS Tower on Broadway, is one of the first of its kind in the world.</p>
<p>More an 1000 students per semester can log on to the remote laboratory and conduct experiments across the majority of engineering disciplines, including beam deflection (civil engineering), fluid dynamics, control pneumatics, mechanical, mechatronic and computer systems engineering.</p>
<p>The system delivers web-based real-time interactive experiences with actual apparatus and equipment. The students receive data and vision of the experiments in action on their computers via a software platform developed at UTS.</p>
<p>"This is online education that is practical, viable and not simulated," said UTS Dean of Engineering Professor Archie Johnston. "In fact we believe this style of laboratory delivery could eventually replace old-style physical experiments in many universities."</p>
<p>Professor Johnston said UTS had been a leader in the field since 2001 when the faculty commissioned its first online experiments for the computer systems, software engineering and telecommunications engineering majors.</p>
<p>"The remote lab concept has been steadily evolving, but the most dramatic developments have been since late last year when the existing experiments were moved into a new space and additional experiments were added. The redevelopments were funded by the faculty and an additional sponsorship of $50,000US from the Motorola Foundation.</p>
<p>"The lab was primarily built to provide students with flexibility and convenience, but the remote operation also allows some expensive, delicate and elaborate equipment to be used without the risk of damage through mishandling. It has also made it possible for a higher number of experiments to be conducted per day, without the need for as many apparatus."</p>
<p>Professor Johnston said the plan for the future was for UTS Engineering to become the driver of a nationwide network of shared remote laboratories among a multitude of universities in Australia and possibly abroad.</p>
<p>"Students, particularly those who live a long way from big city universities, will greatly benefit," he said. "It will also mean the cost of providing a large selection of remote experiments can be shared amongst a group of universities."</p>
<p>As a demonstration, Friday's official opening will host a hook-up of universities on three continents – North America (MIT), Europe (University of Hertfordshire, UK) and Australia (Curtin University of Technology, WA) – to conduct remote experiments during the launch.</p>
<p>The opening will be held from 2.15pm at the lab facility on Level 21 of the UTS Tower.</p>
<p>Further Information:
Nancy Gewargis, Faculty of Engineering,
Ph (02) 9514 2637</p>
<p>Issued by: Terry Clinton, UTS Media Office,
Ph (02) 9514 1623 or 0419 293 261</p>
<p>UTS: Top rated for teaching and learning in Australia</p>

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