Remote laboratories

Remote laboratories allow students to perform a range of scientific experiments via the internet. Any experiment that is controlled using a computer can be presented as a remote laboratory.

Remote laboratories complement the hands-on laboratory experience by providing access to a greater number of laboratories with more opportunity to run and re-run experiments at a time, and can be accessed from a location that is convenient for the student.

Using interface applications, students can manipulate equipment, monitor progress and receive results for analysis.

This technology was developed by MIT in the USA. They developed the iLabs program and allowed other institutions participate. UTS in Australia with RMIT and other ATN partners developed an interface called SAHARA. Sharing is facilitated through a non-profit company, the LabShare Institute.

LabShare brokers between the provider and consumer of remote laboratory experiments.

Remote laboratories:

  • Allow students to schedule their lab time according to their own availability. Experiments can be made available 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
  • Allow students to conduct experiments off-campus at a site convenient to them, via the internet.
  • Improves learning opportunity as students can conduct the experiment when they are comfortable with the concepts, not according to laboratory availability.
  • Provides flexibility for students to duplicate experiments if results are not as expected or to reinforce key concepts.
  • Reduces the requirement for multiple staff to supervise physical laboratories.
  • Frees up laboratory space for other experiments.
  • Reduces the need to accommodate large cohorts of students in laboratories of limited availability.
  • Removes safety risks
  • Allows our students to use facilities at other universities through remote sharing.

This video of Associate Professor Johan Du Plessis from the School of Science provides an overview of remote laboratories.

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