A professor at the University of Manchester was seeking the best modeling and simulation software solution to help students in his Robotics and Control Systems courses visualize the concepts they were learning.
Familiar with Maplesoft technology, the professor chose MapleSim. Using MapleSim, the students are able to create complex models, use parameter sweeps to alter the models and study the ramifications of the changes. The professor also uses the MapleSim CAD Toolbox and MapleSim’s free learning module, The Forward Kinematics of Serial Manipulators, extensively in his classroom.
Using MapleSim, students are able to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world examples. The students have benefited so much from using MapleSim that the professor is expanding his use of MapleSim to other classes in the coming term.
The University of Manchester, the largest single-site university in the UK, has a reputation for producing some of the world’s greatest engineering and mathematical minds. Twenty-five Nobel Prize winners have either worked or studied at the University.
Dr. Joaquin Carrasco, Professor of Control Systems at the University’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, has taught various Control Systems courses to Master’s students in the Master of Science in Advanced Control and Systems Engineering program for the past six years. He has received overwhelmingly positive student feedback from using Maple T.A., the powerful online testing and assessment system from Maplesoft, in his Control Systems classes. He has also recently incorporated Maplesoft’s MapleSim and the MapleSim CAD Toolbox into his Robotics courses. With the MapleSim CAD Toolbox, students can see how their mechanical CAD models behave as part of a larger, multidomain system. The students can easily apply MapleSim's advanced analysis tools to improve their designs. This toolbox makes it easy to import CAD models into MapleSim, automatically capturing the kinematic and dynamic properties of the model components. Using the MapleSim CAD Toolbox, Dr. Carrasco’s students have modeled several complex devices including a 3D printer, a haptic robotic manipulator and a pick-and-place robot.
In the University’s renowned Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronic Engineering program, students learn about the design and implementation of intelligent mechatronic systems. Recently, Dr. Carrasco began teaching Applied Mechanics for Industrial Robotics to second year students taking this program. Based on his previous experience with Maplesoft technology, he decided to enhance the Robotics classroom experience with the introduction of MapleSim, which offers students a rich engineering environment to develop high-fidelity models. According to Dr. Carrasco “3D visualization is a priority for my Robotics class and MapleSim is the best 3D visualization tool available.”
Using MapleSim, students are able to visualize the concepts they are learning. The acausal multidomain modeling environment of MapleSim provides students with an intuitive and natural avenue for modeling. MapleSim uses symbolic and numeric computing techniques to yield accurate models that depict the behavior of the system. MapleSim’s component libraries allow the students to easily drag and drop ready-made components into the workspace. One way Dr. Carrasco uses MapleSim in the classroom is to provide the students with a MapleSim robotic model and have the students find the equations of motion. MapleSim’s easy-to-use interactive approach allows students to visualize the robot and manipulate the underlying mathematical equations.
Within MapleSim there is a learning module: The Forward Kinematics of Serial Manipulators. Introducing the Denavit-Hartenberg Convention, the focus of the module is to obtain the position and orientation of the end-effector of a robotic manipulator. Useful for calculating the forward and inverse kinematics, the D-H Convention describes the motions of a series of joints (revolute and prismatic) with respect to a reference frame. Dr. Carrasco noted, “The concept of D-H parameters is very difficult to explain to undergraduate students. Using MapleSim, the mathematics comes alive and the students are able to easily visualize the concept.” Unlike other software packages, learning modules are free with the purchase of MapleSim.
Contact Maplesoft to learn how MapleSim can be used in your classroom.