Jack, H., Karlesky, M., “Network Facilitated Equipment Control”, presented at the Michigan Space Grant Consortium conference, Ann Arbor, MI, Oct., 1997.

Network Facilitated Equipment Control

H. Jack, M. Karlesky, Padnos School of Engineering, Grand Valley State University, www.aml.gvsu.edu

Presentation Objectives:

1. (hugh) to show the strategic value of remote equipment

2. (hugh) to describe the mode of use

3. (mike) to describe the implementation

Reasons for remote equipment


people and equipment are in different locations (safety or convenience)

allows many people access to limited equipment (no limited standing room)

allows equipment to be monitored without a visit (speed)

users don’t have to monopolize equipment (hot seating)


two or more pieces of separated machines work together (increased organization)

data collected and fused (understanding)


error trapping


result tracking

homogeneous interface

Mode of Use

consider a student using a robot (24 hours a day)


The Implementation

the general structure

web servers in lab on Windows NT and Linux
there are a number of computers throughout the lab connected by ethernet.
control of devices in the lab is distributed over machines using TCP/IP, NFS, HTTP, etc.

a video link provides a window into the lab


simulation is done using VRML for graphics, and Java for animation

Java and JavaCC is also used to parse and interpret programs