Motion Control and Drives Laboratory


The Motion Control and Drives Laboratory specializes in experimental research in real-time software/hardware systems and control in a broad range of industrial systems applications. The laboratory supports undergraduate/graduate education and research in hardware-in-the-loop simulation and rapid prototyping, real-time computing software/hardware systems, advanced modeling and control techniques, digital controller prototyping, intelligent and learning control systems, variable frequency power electronic motor drives, with an emphasis on emerging applications in areas ranging from robotics, mechatronics, intelligent structures, renewable energy and smart grids, factory automation, motion control business, building automation and smart homes, power system automation and SCADA, and research applications related to Homeland Security. Graduate students, undergraduate students, and other engineers carry out research projects in the lab under supervision of faculty members in Electrical Engineering and in collaboration with personnel from other departments, government and industrial laboratories. Participating students come from a variety of backgrounds, and may specialize in electrical or mechanical engineering, or engineering systems.

The laboratory includes the capability to provide electrical and mechanical testing of motor drives, power electronics development and testing, and motor loss measurement. The centerpiece of this lab is a state-of-the-art real-time dSPACE DSP-based data acquisition and control system built from commercial-off-the-shelf digital hardware and software components. The lab also includes several high-power test benches for experimental validation.

The laboratory is equipped with the state-of-the-art analysis and design tools, such as MATLAB, SIMULINK, Fuzzy Logic toolbox, Neural Networks toolbox, System Identification and Adaptive Control toolbox, Nonlinear Control design toolbox, C++ Math Library, MATHCAD, Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0, and Lab View.


The laboratory is structured to meet the following goals: to provide hands-on education and training for students, to address industrial needs in engineering education, to improve student competencies in communication skills and teamwork, and to develop student research skills. More information on our goals.


The laboratory is structured to support activities for students through which they learn firsthand how to operate the project-specific hardware; design, build, assemble, and configure the necessary components; and write or utilize project-specific software. More information on our activities.


The laboratory was founded by Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department Chair Ahmed Rubaai in 2004. Dr. Rubaai further developed the laboratory through a Moog Aerospace grant. More information on team members.


The research focus of this laboratory is on the coordination of the emerging, digitally controlled electric power grid, control and standardization of grid-connected power-electronic equipment and smart monitoring devices, and utilization of energy through the application of sensor networks, intelligent control systems, and the integration of simulation, optimization and design, while assuring communication/data security of such devices installed in the nation’s smart grids. More information on research projects.


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