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A New Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulator for Control Engineering Education

As a part of a "lab-at-home" education paradigm for control engineering courses, this paper proposes (and elaborates) a novel hardware-in-the-loop simulator with 3D animation capabilities. The developed software, which can be tailored to simulate any dynamic systems in non-real-time, is designed to work in conjunction with a control hardware. In the paper, the specific application of the software to a graduate-level course is presented within the framework of a final term project involving the control of a satellite tracking antenna. The success of the software (along with the methodology) is rigorously evaluated through the information collected in three academic semesters including the course instructor's feedback and the questionnaires filled out by the students.