Closed-loop Summing Points
“What are the points on a control diagram for comparing the output and the setpoint?”
What makes a closed-loop control system truly closed loop is the comparison of the output and setpoint for making the error value. However, how is this represented on a control diagram? Well, Control Engineers like to use something called a Closed-loop Summing Point. Closed-loop Summing Points are small circular elements on a diagram that takes in an input on one quadrant, the setpoint on another and then produce the error term. Depending on the signs of the quadrant, the input value might be positive (for a + sign) or negative (for a – sign)
Closed-loop Control Systems
“How can we have a self-correcting control system?”
Open loop control systems may be affordable, but the lack of control over them (pun intended) makes them useful for only select applications. So how can we fix this problem? Well, what if every time our system was to produce an output, we compare it to our setpoint, and then modify the process to achieve our desired result accordingly? This is the fundamental idea behind a closed-loop control system and is used in a vast array of controls applications from electric vehicle battery life monitoring to drones and even laundry machine monitoring.
“How can we make a location history using past velocities?”
Making a location history can be very difficult. Having to make active GPS measurements for a cycle of intervals is very taxing on resources. However, is there a way that we could circumvent this and make a new less resource intense system? Well, let’s start off by thinking back to basic physics. We know that velocity multiplied by time equals a change in distance. So what if were to start off with an initial GPS location and then build an array of all of the measured velocities after that? Well, this is the fundamental ideas behind a technique known as Dead Reckoning and is commonly implemented in control systems and machines that are equipped to go into no-GPS locations.
“What houses the controls for cyber-physical systems?”
Mechatronic systems require controls software in order to function correctly. However, how is this implemented physically into the system? Well, let’s use our engineering mindset to find out. We know that microcontrollers can perform simple controls tasks. So what if we were to hook a number of them together and program them with software to make a controls unit focused on one task? Well, this piece of technology is known as an embedded system and can be found in electro-mechanical operations worldwide. Examples of embedded systems include braking systems in vehicles, thermostats, and the motors on NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover!
Computational physics 05/21/16
If you read last night’s episode of Isaac’s daily science lecture, you would have learned that Scientists and Engineers often use computational models to simulate complex systems. Tonight we will discuss the application to physics, often called Computational physics. Officially, Computational physics is defined as the study and implementation of numerical models to simulate complex physical problems. Computational physics as emerged as an entire methodology in it’s own right, with applications ranging from the simulation of the Nbody problem.
Simulation of science 05/20/16
As we have discussed about complex systems before, much of the natural world can not be predicted using simple mechanistic equations, but requires more complex theories instead. Now one may ask, how is it possible for scientists to utilize such complex theories? The answer lies in the fact that many scientists now a days use something called a simulation to control those systems. By recreating the theories as a computer model, scientists can be granted real time control of a particular situation. Simulations permeate every field of science, weather it be solar systems for astrophysics or earth systems in geology.