An integrated laboratory for real-time signal processing and control has been established at Bucknell University. The laboratory has ten digital signal processing (DSP) units from dSPACE Corporation  and ten Sun workstations. The dSPACE units are controlled and programmed through Simulink , which is a graphical interface to Matlab . The dSPACE/Simulink combination provides an integrated environment for modeling, simulation, and real-time implementation.
The typical mode of operation in the laboratory is to first develop a block diagram in Simulink, then run a simulation on the Sun workstation, and finally to download a real-time implementation for execution on the dSPACE unit. Only a minor modification is required to convert a block diagram from the simulation module to the real-time implementation. Simulink allows parameter updates on-the-fly as the program runs on the dSPACE unit. The dSPACE/Simulink environment facilitates rapid prototyping of real-time algorithms and allows ``what if'' investigations into the effects of parameter variations. The graphical interface shields students from low-level details so they can focus on higher-level design issues. The close relationship between simulation and real-time implementation makes the laboratory ideally suited for undergraduate student design projects. Parameters are varied easily in both the simulation and the real-time implementation, so simulation results can be matched with experimental results and design specifications can be achieved.
The laboratory environment has been used in several undergraduate electrical engineering courses, as well as in the first-year ``Exploring Engineering'' course that includes students from engineering and the liberal arts and sciences. This paper describes some particular student-chosen design projects in the areas of digital audio and speech processing, telephone tone detection, electrocardiograph processing, communication systems, and control systems.
The paper is organized as follows. The laboratory hardware, software, and operation are described in Section 2. Several undergraduate design projects are described in Section 3, and Section 4 contains concluding remarks.