The concept of a remotely shared laboratory has been proposed previously  as a way to use readily available communication facilities to share expensive laboratory facilities among several universities. The laboratory at Bucknell University contains digital signal processing units from dSPACE corporation and Sun workstations. Each dSPACE unit  consists of four A/D and D/A channels and a digital signal processor. In addition, each dSPACE unit is directly connected to the Internet, which facilitates the remote access to the experiments. The dSPACE units can be programmed through Matlab, Simulink, or C language.
The objective of the experiment is to estimate the parameters (gain and time constant) of a first-order RC circuit by applying Taylor series from calculus, least-squares analysis, and statistical analysis of experiments. A program can be downloaded to the dSPACE unit through the Internet that applies a step function input to the circuit and then acquires the resulting time response. The circuit parameters are then estimated from the measured data using a recursive time-domain approach similar to that described in . The user can execute the estimation procedure through the Internet interface and study aspects of its operation, such as convergence and performance with real data. A related frequency-domain parameter estimation procedure is described in .