Description of a modeling, simulation, animation, and real-time control (MoSART) environment for a class of electromechanical systems

Armando Rodriguez, Richard P. Metzger, Oguzhan Cifdaloz, Thanate Dhirasakdanon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This paper describes an Interactive Modeling, Simulation, Animation, and Real-Time Control (MoSART) Environment that is useful for controls education and research. The described MoSART environmenl is shown to be useful for analyzing, designing, visualizing, and evaluating control systems for a class of "cart-pendulum" electromechanical systems. The environment - referred to as Cart-Pendulum Control3D-Lab - is based on Microsoft Windows, Visual C++, Direct-3D, and MATLAB/ Simulink. The environment can be used as a stand-alone application or together with MATLAB. Simulink, and toolboxes. When used as a stand-alone application, a friendly graphical user interface permits easy interaction. Users may select (via pull-down menus) systems, dynamical models, control laws, exogenous signals (including joystick inputs) and associated parameters, initial conditions, integration routines, and associated parameters. When used with MATLAB, Simulink, and toolboxes, the previously mentioned nominal features are significantly enhanced. In either case, the interface permits users to access the following (via pull-down menus): animation models, mesh properties, texture and lighting models, system-specifc visual indicators, graphics to be displayed, animation/data display/storage rates, simulation control buttons, and extensive documentation. When Simulink is present, users can exploit extensive visualization and three-dimeusional (3-D) animation features through provided and/or user-generated Simulink diagrams. This capability makes the developed environment very extensible with respect to mathematical models and control laws. In addition, users may readily export simulation data to MATLAB/toolboxes for postprocessing and further analysis. The environment also contains a suite of well-documented (easy-to-modify) models and control laws that are implemented within the provided Simulink block diagrams. Provided (special) blocks enable animation, joystick inputs, and (near) real-time simulation and animation (when possible). (Near real-time - or faster-than-real-time - simulation and animation are possible whenever the mathematical and animation models are sufficiently simple and data manipulation requirements, e.g. storage and display, are sufficiently mild. For the systems considered, (near) real-time simulation and animation is readily achievable.) Associated with each block diagram are system-specific, menu-accessed m-files that permit detailed analysis and design. A hardware module permits real-time control of actual hardware experiments. The developed environment is shown to be a valuable tool for enhancing both controls education in a variety of classes as well as research. Examples are presented to illustrate the utility of the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-374
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Animation control
  • Controls education
  • Design
  • Direct-3D
  • Electromechanical systems
  • Modeling
  • Modeling, Simulation, Animation, and Real-Time Control (MoSART)
  • Pendulum
  • Simulation
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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