The telelaboratories can be divided essentially into two categories: virtual lab and remote labs.
A virtual lab provides the software by which the user can simulate the behavior of physical systems under the action of different control laws.
A real lab, instead, is made of real systems and techniques for remote accesses.
REAL Lab is a real and a virtual laboratory in one.
It allows to realize experiments on physical systems using Internet and provides the necessary software to make the simulation of every experiment. The experiments run fixed control laws on the server side and the users are generally free to modify a subset of the control system parameters. Every experiment can be monitored in real time through the images of a webcam or by a 3D virtual scene (for simulations).
REAL Lab is installed at the robotic laboratory of the Department of Computer and Systems Science (DIS) of the University of Rome "Sapienza".
Its purpose is to support the students of all studies inherent the automatic control with the practise exercise of a laboratory.
Often the access to a laboratory is reserved to a limited number of people and the experiment activities are only possible under the supervision of a tutor. This and other reasons, like the distance that may lie between people and laboratories, make a telelaboratory project a powerful educational tool.
The project has been developed keeping particular attention to future extensions. The number of physical systems that can be installed is unlimited, unless for the ability of the Servlet server host to manage concurrently several users, that is tightly connected with the power of the machine used and the bandwidth of the Internet connections.