Electrical and Computer EngineeringWestern Engineering

Research Facilities

Thompson Engineering Building

Thompson Engineering Building

Applied Electrostatics & Electromagnetics

Currently, the Group facilities are fully equipped with the necessary instrumentation and equipment for carrying out projects related to the industrial generation, application and control of electric forces. In addition, the Group has full access to facilities in other UWO Departments and Centres.

All members of the Group have NSERC individual discovery grants. Several members have been successful in other grant applications, including the NSERC strategic and NATO collaborative research grants.

Biomedical Systems

Currently, the ECE Department has excellent research labs and computing facilities. Since 1999, equipment and software purchases amounting to over $1.71 million have been made for the laboratory and computing facilities in the three programs offered by the Department. In December/2003 the Department Faculty members moved into a much larger space in the new Thompson Engineering Building All established members of the BME group have NSERC research grants. Several members have been successful in securing funding from other sources to establish state-of-the-art research facilities.

Our faculty members are members of two overlapping research teams whose collaboration formed the basis for two major grant applications which were subsequently approved. Both of these significant endeavors have lead to the formation of an unparalleled teaching and research infrastructure

  • Whitaker Foundation Grant for Biomedical Engineering ( $1.4M )

Through the first endeavour, the faculty members was part of a team which submitted a proposal for funding to the Whitaker Foundation to support a research-intensive graduate programme in Biomedical Engineering. The proposal was approved for $1,400,000 in order to create new faculty positions in the Faculty of Engineering Science and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. This grant forms the foundation for a programme to attract new graduate students, and it creates a critical mass of faculty members who will attract excellent students worldwide.

  • Canadian Foundation for Innovation ( $ 3.1M ), and
  • Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund ( $ 3.1M )

The second endeavour lead to the formation of a research centre, The Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advanced Robotics centre (C-STAR: www.c-star.ca/biographies.asp ), headquartered in a two-story addition which has been construction at the LHSC University Hospital campus. These groups include members of the U.W.O. Faculty of Engineering Science, The John P. Robarts Research Institute, and clinicians at the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC, University Hospital Campus).

Communication Systems and Data Networking

Currently, the ECE Department has excellent research labs and computing facilities. Since 1999, equipment and software purchases amounting to over $1.71 million have been made for the laboratory and computing facilities in the three programs offered by the Department. In 2002, a generous donation from Cisco of the networking equipment (worth approximately $750,000) has enabled us to expand both the SE and CE programs to offer state-of-the-art courses in networking.

In December 2003 the Communication Systems and Data Networking laboratories moved into a much larger space in the new Thompson Engineering Building. Additional computing facilities including 30 new PCs and 20 SUN workstations have been acquired for these laboratories. With a wide range of equipment and software, our researchers have access to the world of Microsoft, UNIX, SUN, Cisco, Oracle, Rational, and IBM PC-like.

All members of the CSDN group have NSERC research grants. Several members have been successful in securing funding from other sources to establish state-of-the-art research facilities.

Microsystems & Digital Signal Processing

The VLSI-DSP laboratories are located in the new Thompson Engineering Building. The VLSI laboratory is being established and it has 8 PCs (provided by CMC) with Matlab and FPGA software for VLSI DSP prototype designs. More than 15 workstations are being used for teaching VLSI circuit design using Cadence tools (provided by CMC).

The DSP group has recently received a significant equipment donation from Texas Instruments Inc., Dallas, USA. The donated equipment includes fifteen DSP development boards based on the 225 MHz floating point TMS320C6713 chip, four Test and Evaluation Boards (TEBs) based on the C6701 and C6416 DSP chips, the Network and Video Development Kit (NVDK), and the complete version of the Code Composer Studio (CCS) integrated software development environment. The acquisition of the TI DSP hardware and software has paved the way to the creation of state-of-the-art DSP teaching and research laboratories.

Power Systems Engineering

Since the inception of the Power Systems Engineering Group, the members of the group have been successful in securing funding from various sources to establish state-of-the-art research facilities that do not exist at any other University in Ontario. These facilities are indispensable for conducting research in the areas of interconnection and interface of energy sources to the electric power grid. Specifically, these include:

  • Real time simulation of power systems with a Real Time Digital Simulator (RTDS) and a Real Time Playback (RTP) Simulator. These simulators are ideal tools for thoroughly designing, studying, and testing control and protection schemes. They perform the entire system simulation in a “computational time period” which is equivalent to the “real time of occurrence” of the physical phenomena. The importance of these Simulators lie in the fact that any control and protection strategies validated on it will be readily accepted by industry for implementation.
  • State-of-the-Art power system protection laboratory with a host of modern protective relays for studying the protection aspects of interconnections of energy sources with the electric grid; and transmission and distribution systems.
  • Commercial grade software packages for performing comprehensive and specialized studies related to power system stability, electromagnetic transients, fault studies, etc.
  • Facilities for designing, implementing and testing power electronic converters/conditioners, power system protection devices and Flexible AC Transmission System (FACTS) controllers.
  • An array of computing and networking facilities for studying IT applications in modern power systems having alternate energy sources.

The above facilities are relocated in the new $ 27.4 million Thompson Engineering Building, a novel research and teaching facility designed to effectively support the new strategic direction of the Faculty of Engineering.

Robotics & Control

Members of the group have been very successful in getting infrastructure funding to establish state-of-the-art research facilities some of which are unique and do not exist at any other university in Canada. In the new Thompson Engineering Building, the group will have over 6,000 sq. ft. of space. This will be in the form of the following research laboratories:

  • A Robotics and Real-Time Systems Laboratory (~2,000 sq. ft.).
  • A Visualization and Virtual Reality Laboratory (~2,000 sq. ft.).
  • A Distributed Intelligent Systems Laboratory (~600 sq. ft.).
  • A Robot Welding Laboratory (~400 sq. ft.).
  • A Mobile Robotics and Computer Vision Laboratory (600 sq. ft.).
  • Control, Instrumentation and Electrical Systems Laboratory (600 sq.
  • ft.).

The Visualization and Virtual Reality Laboratory and the Distributed Intelligent Systems Laboratory have been funded by Infrastructure support from CFI-OIT and industry. The Visualization and Virtual Reality Laboratory contains a high-performance SGI ONYX 3400 computer system with a Fakespace Immersadesk R2 virtual-reality display. The Laboratory also has a Cyberware 3D colour laser scanning system. The Distributed Intelligent Systems Laboratory has state-of-the-art real-time control facilities including MATLAB/SIMULINK and its various toolboxes, the RT-LAB environment (from OPAL-RT technologies) for rapid prototyping of embedded control algorithms, electronic measurement tools, 3 mobile robots, 11 UNIX and PC computer workstations, electronic amplifiers, logic analyzers, and tools for developing and prototyping embedded computer control applications.

The Robotics and Real-Time Systems Laboratory has several robotics systems, two of which are 7-DOF redundant manipulators constructed as part of major NSERC funded joint projects with Dr. Angeles’ group at McGill University. The Laboratory also has several haptic devices – three (Phantoms) from Sensable Technologies and one (CyberGrasp) from Immersion Technologies. The Laboratory is well equipped for research in the design and control of robotic systems and on teleoperation using haptics interaction.

The Mobile Robotics and Computer vision lab (shared between Dr. McIsaac and Dr. Jagath Samarabandu, also of the department) is dedicated to research integrating the use of computer vision and image processing techniques with mobile robotics. The lab contains PC workstations, a fleet of mobile robots, and a trinocular stereo vision system and is currently being instrumented with a locally designed and developed ultrasound positioning system for mobile robotics applications. The lab is currently home to 11 graduate students.

The Control, Instrumentation and Electrical Systems Laboratory houses a nuclear power plant simulator running on a HP Alpha server, a Delta V industrial version of Distributed Control System (DCS), several control system experimentation and simulation tools, such as MATRIXx, Matlab and a number of micro-machines and basic instrumentation systems. The lab also has a real-time heart sound recorder to support advanced signal processing research for heart sound. There are 10 workstations and PCs for various research projects.

Software Engineering

Currently, the ECE Department has excellent research labs and computing facilities. Since 1999, equipment and software purchases amounting to over $1.71 million have been made for the laboratory and computing facilities in the three programs offered by the Department. In 2002, a generous donation from Cisco of the networking equipment (worth approximately $750,000) has enabled us to expand both the SE and CE programs to offer state-of-the-art courses in networking.

In December 2003 the Software Engineering laboratories moved into a much larger space in the new Thompson Engineering Building. Additional computing facilities including 30 new PCs and 20 SUN workstations have been acquired for these laboratories. With a wide range of equipment and software, our researchers have access to the world of Microsoft, UNIX, SUN, Cisco, Oracle, Rational, and IBM PC-like.

All members of the SE group have NSERC research grants. Several members have been successful in securing funding from other sources to establish state-of-the-art research facilities.