Flexy

Flexy: An Open-Source Device for Control Education. This paper presents a new open-source device Flexy for laboratory exercising in control education. This device is a simple dynamical system with one actuator and one sensor. The actuator is a compact fan with variable speed, and the sensor is a flexible resistor that is bending as an effect of air flow produced by the fan. Flexy also provides an additional potentiometer knob that acts as a second continuous input and its purpose can be programmed by a user. Students that use the device in laboratory exercises for a variety of control engineering tasks, such as system identification, signal processing, control design and its applications. Control tasks can be implemented in embedded fashion because Flexy incorporates an Arduino board. Alternatively, the control can be designed using MATLAB/Simulink. The paper provides a physical and operational description of Flexy, software description and ways it can be used to control the device. The last part of the paper is dedicated to the use of Flexy in control education, along with an example of typical tasks that students can tackle in laboratory exercises.

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