Wireless Embedded Data Acquisition Controller for Simulation-Based Training Systems, 07-9325

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Principal Investigator
Robert L. Rogers

Inclusive Dates: 07/01/02 - 01/01/03

Background - The U.S. Department of Defense, other government agencies, and industrial companies have a need for off-line operational and maintenance training systems for their aircraft, ground vehicles, and other equipment. These off-line training systems reduce the need to dedicate time on the actual systems for training and reduce the additional wear and damage to the actual systems due to this training.

Approach - This effort investigated a new design for high-fidelity, simulation-based operational and maintenance training systems, based on the use of embedded data acquisition controllers and wireless communications technology. The goal was to design and prototype a simulated system component that can meet the high functional requirements of an operational trainer and the high physical fidelity requirements of a maintenance trainer.

Accomplishments - As a result of this project, SwRI developed a generic client/server core design, which is a solid building block for developing high fidelity components for both operational and maintenance training systems. The focus of this effort was the investigation of a new design for high-fidelity, simulation-based operational and maintenance training systems, based on the use of embedded data acquisition controllers and wireless communications technology. With an emphasis on supportability, this design uses commercial off-the-shelf components; a common, license-free operating system for the embedded computer; and high-level programming languages.

The core stack of circuit cards can be reconfigured to simulate the operation of many different devices. The software is designed to have the simulation logic centrally located on the server, which leaves the client software with only generic input/output tasks. This design keeps the client software simple and reusable. The server software is written in Java and is platform independent.

The client/server data communication is designed for use in either of two configurations: using a wireless connection (where the only required cable is for electrical power) or using a standard Category-5 Ethernet cable. The Category-5 data cable can be used in situations where there is concern about broadcasting the information or where there is excessive interference.

Lastly, the benefits of the design, in either wired or wireless mode, are numerous. The hardware design will improve the reliability, maintainability, and supportability of new training systems. The commercial support for the hardware and its expandability make the design highly customizable. As the price of the commercial wireless components continues to decrease, data rates continue to increase, and security becomes enhanced, the wireless option is becoming a cost-effective alternative to hard-wired data cables. The software design is both generic and robust, enabling rapid development of new client components and associated server modifications.

Circuit card stack inside prototype

Client prototype: ARC-164 UHF radio

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