A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research

Remote Control of Laboratory Equipment for Educational Purposes

This invention consists of a method to remote control many types of laboratory equipment that is typically found in an undergraduate science (physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, etc.) course.  The invention uses a web browser to create a virtual interface to the equipment and a web cam to stream real-time video. .  It is designed for educational purposes, either for universities or high schools that do not have access to this type of sophisticated equipment or for the laboratory portion of a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC).  Currently, laboratory portions of these courses are either pre-recorded videos or computer simulations only.   A prototype using a plasma physics educational device has been developoed. While the experiment is located at PPPL, a webcam displays the experiment on the web and the parameters (voltage, magnetic field and pressure) can be controlled remotely by opening a URL which shows the streaming video, as well as a set of controls.  The interface has been designed to attract users with a wide range of academic backgrounds by presenting different levels of interactivity.  A queue system has been designed to control access while letting users from anywhere in the world interact with the machine


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Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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