Abstract: Lack of remote access to engineering laboratory systems has prevented distance learning from fulfilling the accreditation requirements of hands-on design and implementation experience. Although there have been solutions developed around remote and virtual laboratories, these solutions do not fulfill the simultaneous requirements of being portable, plug-and-play, low cost, and commercially available. In this paper, we propose a product oriented solution of a low-cost hardware lab system that every student can own and conduct their laboratory experiments at any location. We introduce a control system lab platform called servo-in-a-box, which is an integrated electro-mechanical servo system, complete with DC motor, sensor, power driver, USB interface, and software. This servo-in-a-box enables many undergraduate control engineering students to conduct PID hardware control lab remotely and individually, while meeting the hands-on learning objectives associated with a traditional on-campus laboratory.

Keywords: portable, plug-and-play, low cost, DC motor, sensor, power driver, USB interface, and software.