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After hearing numerous academics (and industrial peers) complain about the current state of software tools that are used in engineering laboratories, we started an extensive search for a better solution.
The complaints ranged from "training students in a specific software that companies can't afford", to licenses that cripple research efforts, license and subscriptions cost, number of toolboxes needed to run experiments, lack of support from vendors, to students asking to be trained in Python, given that most engineering job applications ask for Python experience.
We concluded our search with a Python-based, drag-and-drop diagram programing, open-source tool called pysimCoder.
pysimCoder, created by Professor Roberto Bucher (thank you!), has been our absolute preferred tool for dynamic systems modeling, simulation, control, and auto generation of real-time control code.
It leverages the power of Python and it's libraries by linking scripts to the block diagram, making this an extremely power application for academia and industry.
pysimCoder can also auto-generate real-time C code for multiple targets, including a PC, STM32-based boards, Raspberry Pi, and NuttX RTOS. Our DAQs are plug-and-play with pysimCoder using NuttX.
Once the code is running in the target, Silicon-Heaven can be used to change parameters such as controller gains, setpoint, and limits.
For more information about pysimCoder, Silicon Heaven, and NuttX, check out the following links:
These tools are completely free and open-source, without subscription or crippling licensing from the commercial proprietary software.
Using pysimCoder for your lab will be a fraction of the cost (software is free), will expose your students to Python, allow you to customize the software for your needs (open-source), and yield high performance (real-time)!
We are currently working on detailed tutorials that cover installation and use of pysimCoder.
Note: all of our products work with other software tools, including MATLAB/Simulink, C/C++ with Arm Mbed, and LabVIEW. Our DAQs are USB devices.
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