|Title of Invention||
"A SYSTEM FOR COMPUTER ASSISTED EXPERIMENTATION FOR HEAT AND A METHOD THEREOF"
|Abstract||The instant invention relates to a computer assisted experimentation system and method for learning heat. It provides an experimentation kit with components therein, a Data Capture and Control Unit, a Smart Power Source and a computing device. The components of the experimentation kit are assembled by a user for performing an experiment. The parameters of the experiment including current change, voltage change, temperature, thermal expansion are sent to the Data Capture and Control Unit which changes it into appropriate digital form and forwards it to the computing device which displays the result accordingly. The computing device also displays instructions in audio or video form. Smart Power source acts as a source of heat required in the experiments for instance an experiment may need to heat water or any other component.|
|Full Text||This application is a patent of addition to the Indian Patent Application No. 343/Del/2004.
Field of the Invention
The instant invention relates to a system and method for computer related experimentation for heat. It relates to computer based training packages.
Background of the Invention
Learning approach is a developmental process that is enhanced by working with others inside and outside the classroom. Hands on training, with real world examples, is key to learning and retention. Computer Based Training (CBT) is regarded as having great potential for enhancing the quality and effectiveness of education. CBTs have been credited as one of the major reasons for the increased work productivity and economic success. Students use this technology to explore diverse information resources inside and outside school and produce information for real-world tasks. Teachers use the technology to guide and engage students in self-directed learning activities. They model problem solving that reflects real work but focuses on areas that are otherwise difficult to teach.
In CBT, technology use is aligned with standards to enhance application of content learning to real-life situations. It also avoids the expense and loss of work involved in traveling to a central location for training. Studies show that CBT typically reduces the time required to learn material by 40-60 percent when compared to instructor-led courses. Studies also show that students typically retain twice as much information from a CBT course that covers the same material as an instructor-led course. This is due to the intense interaction inherent in the CBT format, the ability to move through the material at the student's own pace and the ability to review material as many times as required. The ability to take the course as time permits, instead of arranging the student's activities around a class schedule, is a major advantage.
However the chief disadvantage with CBT is that it lacks the facility of experiments through computers. In other words CBT can only show a simulation of standard lab experiments.
A survey of prior art systems dealing with computer assisted experimentation reveals two major shortcomings:
Tendency to overuse simulations instead of real experiments
No interaction between experimental setup and the lesson. The lessons are in
no position to check the correctness of the student's experimental set-up.
Also most of the systems cannot be used without external guidance.
In US patent no. 5,360,344 for "Hands-on learning system including three-dimensional action model kit", the instructions on assembling a kit are given through a computer. Once the kit is assembled, no measurement can be performed as no instrument is provided to connect to the computer. It does not use the computer as a measurement tool. It is exactly a hands-on learning system including three-dimensional action model kit -has flat rigid molded panels of distinctive shapes.
US patent no. 5,855,483 for "Interactive play with a computer", provides playthings that interface with the computer and allow fantasy play. It does not use a separate instrument for measuring and viewing "real-life" physical/scientific parameters. Further there is no embodiment to teach any scientific phenomenon. It is just a method for enabling fantasy play using a computer and a plaything.
Accordingly a system and method is needed for providing the facility of experimenting along with proper instructions. Further, a system is needed for experimenting and learning in the field of heat.
Objectives and Summary of the Invention
It is an objective of the present invention to provide a system and method for computer-assisted experimentation for heat.
It is another objective of the present invention to enable a user to observe a phenomenon related to the field of heat, attempt proposing a plausible theory explaining the phenomenon and validate the proposed theory by conducting more experiments in the way scientists do.
It is still another objective of the present invention to enable learning about the current theory that exists regarding a phenomenon.
It is a further objective of the present invention to pointedly strengthen the art of observation.
It is yet another objective of the present invention to elicit formulation of explanation and provide scope and option for validation.
The instant invention provides a Computer Assisted Experimentation System and method for learning heat comprising an experimentation kit (11) for performing experiments which includes components like heating coil, thermal expansion apparatus, retort stands etc., a Data Capture and Control Unit (DCCU) (13) for capturing the readings of said experiments, and a computing system (14) which contains means for receiving said readings from the DCCU, means for analyzing said readings, and means for displaying conclusions, errors and instructions.
In one embodiment, the invention provides a system which has a local intelligence in the form of microcontrollers or microprocessor. The local intelligence optionally contains the Channel Selector and Analog to Digital Converter.
The method comprises postulating a theory using computing device and performing experiments using an experiment kit, forwarding the parameters of said experiment to a Data Capture and Control Unit (DCCU) by sensors, converting said parameters to an appropriate level by said DCCU, forwarding the parameters to a computing system, analyzing said parameters by said computing system, and displaying conclusions and errors of said experiment by said computing system and checking the postulated theory.
The invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
Brief Description of the Drawings
Figure 1 relates to a block diagram describing the instant invention.
Figure 2 describes the Data Capture and Control Unit.
Figure 3 describes the Heat Experimentation kit.
Figure 4a describes the front view of the Smart Power Source.
Figure 4b describes the rear view of the Smart Power Source. Figure 5 shows a flow diagram describing the instant invention.
Detailed Description of the Drawings
To familiarize the student with the steps in a scientific investigation, the instant invention can be used following the hypothesis, experimentation, observation, and inference approach. The experiment begins with a poser. The user is encouraged to come up with a hypothesis and perform an experiment to verify if his/her hypothesis is correct. Based on the experiment results, the user can confirm if his/her hypothesis is correct or not.
Figure 1 illustrates the instant invention with respect to a block diagram. The experiment kit (11) has components for performing an experiment for practice or for pro\ing any theory proposed. Topic-specific sensors (12) sense/measure the parameters from the kit and convey them to a data capture and control unit, (13). The parameters may include heat, current, voltage etc. The sensors can be detached or attached as desired to the unit, which converts the parameters into a form readable by the computer and further conveys them to the computer through a port. The ports can be, but not restricted to, parallel, serial or USB. The communication channel can be wired or wireless. The computer-based lessons on the computer accept the values and display them appropriately as part of instruction. They also use this value to perform an intelligent diagnosis to check if the value sensed is as expected in the lesson.
Figure 2 describes the various components of data capture and control unit which is the interface between the experiment kit and the computer. The components of the experimentation kit are assembled according to the experiment to be performed. The parameters generated for instance the temperature, time, current etc during the experiment are forwarded to the DCCU by the kit using any known wired or wireless means.
The Sensor Interface Circuitry, 21, converts the sensed parameters into values compatible with an analog to digital converter. In one embodiment, local intelligence 22 in the form of a microcontroller or a microprocessor is present. Embodiments can also exist without local intelligence. The values of the measured parameters, received by the Channel Selector and Analog to Digital Converter, 23, allows selection of one of the many sensors connected and converts the selected analog quantity into a corresponding digital quantity. The Channel Selector and Analog to Digital Converter, 23, may reside within the local intelligence 22 or outside it. The Port Interface Circuitry, 25, converts the digital data from 23 into levels suitable for the computer port. Appropriate routines residing on the computer read this digital value. The power circuitry, 24, converts the power from the
AC Mains into the levels appropriate for the rest of the circuitry. In one embodiment, the power circuitry, 24, converts the power from the serial port into levels appropriate for the rest of the circuitry. In addition to this there is a memory device, 27, that provides a provision to save the readings generated during experimentation if at present the computer or the software program is not available. Also there is a control device, 26, which can control an externally attached device such as a fan, heating device or any other equipment. This can also act as a source of power. This will be as required in the experiment being performed. In the instant case, a Smart Power Source is attached to the control device, which is the external source of heat. The DCCU receives commands from the computer for controlling the Smart Power Source.
Figure 3 describes the experimentation kit. The Heat Experiment Kit is a self-contained kit that contains conveniently packaged components such as, but not limited to, heating coils, thermal expansion apparatus, retort stands etc. that enable a student to perform experiments related to heat. These components need to be assembled in a particular manner for a particular experiment. There are certain specially designed apparatus such as the thermal expansion apparatus. These apparatus can be interfaced to the DCCU and can be sensed electronically to determine if expansion or any physical property change has occurred.
In addition to the components provided with the experiment kit, a user can also use components other than those provided in the experiment kit for an experiment with the DCCU.
Figure 4a and 4b show the front and the rear view of the Smart Power Source respectively.
The Smart Power Source can be automatically made to start or stop heating using the DCCU and PC. It has several sockets and light indicators on it. The power cord (49) is connected to the AC mains for switching ON/OFF the Smart Power Source. A Voltage probe from DCCU (40) is used to measure the voltage output from the Smart Power
Source, designed to snug fit with voltmeter cables from the DCCU. The voltage readings will be visible on the PC. Similarly, current probe from DCCU (41) is used to measure the current drawn from the Smart Power Source, designed to snug fit with ammeter cables from the DCCU. The current readings will be visible on the PC.
The DC Power Out (42) is used to draw power from the Smart Power Source to heat small quantities of liquids when used in conjunction with a heating coil or any other component or similar assembly. The DC Power Cable (46) is used to connect the DC Power Out (42) to the heating coil. The Control In (44) is used to automatically start and stop power drawn from the Smart Power Source under the control of the DCCU and computer to ensure safety. The Control Cable (45) is used to connect the Control In (44) with the DCCU. The DC Power on indicator (43) lights up whenever the Smart Power Source is instructed to start heating by the DCCU and PC. It is switched off when the Smart Power Source is instructed to stop heating.
The Smart Power source, used as an external heat source for the experiment, can be turned ON/OFF only through the DCCU by sending appropriate commands from the, PC, thus ensuring safety. The Smart Power Source is used as a source of heat that may be needed for a precise time interval or to a precise degree after which it switches off automatically.
The Smart Power Source receives commands for either switching on or off the DC power. These commands are generated by the computer and reach the Smart Power Source through the DCCU and the control cable. The local intelligence in the DCCU interprets the commands from the computer and generates appropriate voltage. This voltage signal reaches the Smart Power Source through control cable thereby turning on or off heating.
The rear view of the Smart Power Source shows the fuse and the power cord.
The Smart Power Source is configured to be applicable in other applications other than
the heat experiment kit.
Figure 5 shows a flow diagram for the instant invention describing how the instant invention works.
A user may use the system to put forward a theory and prove or disprove it, verify a scientific law or practice any experiment. The user would login to the system using the password given to him (51). The routines residing in the system check, using the user's login and password, the list of experiments that the user is eligible to perform. The list is displayed to him from which the user selects the suitable one (52).
The computer poses a few questions to the user to which the user gives his hypothesis (53) and he next proves his/ her hypothesis by performing experiments (54). The computer provides instructions for the selected experiment. The user may follow the instructions to assemble the components or he/she may try without the instructions. The instructions may be in the form of text lessons or multimedia. URL links are also provided in the lessons if a user wishes further research in the matter. The computer routines also provide theory lessons in addition to the instructions for the experiment. The computer system also tells the user about any errors while he performs the experiment.
The instant invention provides a facility to students to perform the experiments without being asked any questions.
The experiments performed generate parameters, which need to be manipulated or processed for deducting whether the experiment was performed correctly or not. Such parameters may include current, voltage, temperature etc. These parameters of the heat experiment and their readings, in digital form, are forwarded to the computer by the DCCU (55). The DCCU converts the digital data into levels suitable for the computer port. Appropriate routines residing on the computer read this digital value. The computer analyses the values (56) and displays the result showing the conclusions. The errors are also shown (57) and the user may repeat the experiment if desired.
A unique feature of the system is that it has inbuilt intelligence to check if the experiment is proceeding correctly. If not, the software halts the experiment and issues a message indicating the problem and probable reasons. The user can rectify the experimental set-up and repeat the experiment. This ensures that the users perform experiment correctly. The readings of the experiment, in the digital form, may be saved for later reference and the results and conclusion of the experiment may also be seen later.
It will readily be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments shown herein. Thus variations may be made within the scope and spirit of the accompanying claims without sacrificing the principal advantages of the invention.
1. A computer assisted experimentation system for heat comprising:
an experimentation kit (11) for performing experiments,
a Data Capture and Control Unit (DCCU) (13) for capturing the readings of said experiments using sensors and for storing resultants of said experimentation system ; a power circuitry (24) for converting power from the AC mains or computer serial port into suitable level for rest of circuitry a local intelligence containing the channel selector and analog to digital converter which is a microprocessor or microprocessor. - a computing system (14):
for receiving said readings from the DCCU, for analyzing said readings, and - for displaying conclusions, errors and instructions;
for allowing a user to observe a predefined phenomena of thermal physics wherein said computer assisted experimentation system is configured to act as a feedback assistance experimentation system by concurrently monitoring said experiments and by selectively halting, resuming or repeating said experiments at a first halt state based on predefined criteria comprising a Smart Power Source used as a source of heat.
2. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said experimentation kit has components comprising heating coils, thermal expansion apparatus, and retort stands.
3. The system as claimed in claim 2, wherein said components are designed to detect any change due to the experiment, said change comprising thermal expansion, melting, evaporating, fusion, temperature change, current change and voltage change.
4. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said readings are forwarded to said DCCU using topic specific sensors (12) and means comprising wired and wireless means
5. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said DCCU comprises:
a sensor interface circuitry (21) for converting the readings of said experiment into
a channel selector and analog to digital converter (23) for selecting from the topic
specific sensors and converting said readings received from said sensor interface
circuitry into digital readings, and
a port interface circuitry (25) for converting the digital data to suitable levels for the
6. The system as claimed in claim 5, wherein said DCCU comprises a memory device (27) for storing the readings of the parameters for later references.
7. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said DCCU comprises a control device (26) for controlling any externally attached device, said device comprising heating coils, bulb and fan.
8. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said predefined criteria may include instructions, readings generated during experimentation and theory lessons provided by the computer.
9. A computer assisted experimentation system for heat as claimed in claim 1, wherein said DCCU comprises:
a sensor interface circuitry for converting the readings of said experiment into
a channel selector and analog to digital converter for selecting from the topic specific
sensors and converting said readings received from said sensor interface circuitry into
a port interface circuitry for converting the digital data to suitable levels for the
computing system, and
a local intelligence (22) for the internal functioning of the DCCU.
10. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said means for displaying instructions comprise means for displaying textual lessons and means for displaying multimedia lessons.
11. The system as claimed in claim 13, wherein said Smart Power Source comprises -
- a power cord (49) connected to the AC mains for switching ON/OFF the Smart Power
- a voltage socket (40) to measure the voltage output,
a current socket (41) to measure the current output,
a DC power out (42) for drawing power to heat the components in the experiment,
- a DC power cable (46) for connecting the DC power out to said component,
- a Control In (44) for starting and stopping the power drawn,
- a control cable (45) for connecting the control in to the DCCU, and
- a DC power on indicator.
12. The system as claimed in claim 14, wherein said control in for starting and stopping the power drawn is controlled by the DCCU and the computing device.
13. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said Smart Power Source heats the attached component for a predetermined time interval and degree.
14. A method for computer assisted experimentation for heat, said method comprising the steps of:
postulating a theory using computing device and performing experiments using an
experiment kit(l 1),
forwarding the parameters of said experiment to a Data Capture and Control Unit
(DCCU)(13) by sensors,
converting said parameters to an appropriate level by said DCCU(13),
forwarding the parameters to a computing system( 14),
analyzing said parameters by said computing system(14), and
displaying conclusions and errors of said experiment by said computing
system(14) and checking the postulated theory.
|Indian Patent Application Number||2064/DEL/2005|
|PG Journal Number||23/2013|
|Date of Filing||03-Aug-2005|
|Name of Patentee||NIIT LIMITED|
|Applicant Address||8, BALAJI ESTATE, SUDERSHAN MUNJAL MARG, KALKAJI, NEW DELHI 110019, INDIA|
|PCT International Classification Number||H35K 7/20|
|PCT International Application Number||N/A|
|PCT International Filing date|