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The hardware labs 1-3 and hardware workshop are intended to support students, lecturers and employees in research, development, teaching and final theses in engineering work on computer science projects that require a connection to our real environment.

The focus varies depending on the requirements, requires a versatile, interdisciplinary approach and requires a high level of domain knowledge and teamwork. In the field of computer engineering, we currently focus on technologies such as actuators, sensors, wireless communication, serial bus systems, neural networks, energy efficiency, battery applications, automation technology, control technology, real-time systems, robotics, security and the Internet of Things.

Frequent workflows include analysis, design, simulation, production, measurement, programming, testing and documentation.

On the software side, problem-specific simulation, design and manufacturing software is provided, such as LT-Spice for simulating electronic circuits, Itemis-Yakindu for simulating automata, Aldec Active-HDL for simulating programmable logic; Eagle and KiCad for designing printed circuit boards; Ultimaker Cura and Simplify 3D for generating 3D print jobs.

In addition, the different microcontroller systems also require specific development environments, build tools, compilers, libraries and other tools. Software quality and creation is now also handled here with continuous integration and continuous delivery of version management systems such as Gitlab using adapted Docker containers. The execution of automatic tests and creation of automatic documentation is also state of the art in TI. The provision, maintenance, configuration and servicing of the software and hardware required for this is therefore also the task of the hardware labs.

On the hardware side, our laboratories also have a range of frequently required components and development boards. They have future-proof production technology for the creation of functional embedded systems prototypes. Occupational safety is regularly checked and documented. The equipment also includes modern measurement technology that can be used specifically for monitoring digital signals and communication.
The provision of rapid prototyping technologies, which is now essential with regard to Industry 4.0, is also taken into account: a generously equipped CAD workstation and three 3D printers are available. The hardware workshop has interdisciplinary trained staff and the material equipment to ensure the provision of prototypes required in our field.

As part of recurring trade fair exhibitions and public appearances, such as the "University Day" or the weekly "Open Lab Evening", an opportunity is created to present the faculty and the university to the public. The opportunity is used to make contact with potential students, but also to maintain existing relationships with former students and cultivate networks with existing cooperation partners. In this context, the laboratories - in addition to our entire student body - also expressly approach members of other faculties, universities, educational institutions, institutes and other technically interested parties from various disciplines.

The workshop also takes on internal tasks, such as the maintenance of media technology.

Hardware workshop

The production of a prototype in the hardware workshop is presented as an example of construction. It is a larger wooden construction that was created in collaboration with the architectural model workshop. This type of work is always relevant for trade fair presentations and can be produced using the workshop's infrastructure. This is the handicraft project of two Master's students Arcade-Automat(Opens in a new tab) . The device is not only well received at exhibitions. It also turned out that at trade fairs, during the time when the attracted children are playing, you can talk extensively with their parents about the subject of studying.

Digital signal analysis

An example of the digital signal analysis measurement method on a modern mixed signal oscilloscope purchased quite early on is presented here. It is a test of a self-created software driver for I2C communication with a microcontroller. It is shown that the data rate could be set to three speeds during communication. The device automatically evaluates the protocol of the bit-serial transmitted data. The collected data and generated evaluations can be exported to USB sticks for later use and can be used to document the system. With conventional oscilloscopes, troubleshooting digital signal transmissions could easily take a week and would no longer be up to date.

Digital remote control

The digital remote control created enables the control of any number of actuators. It represents an actual extension of commercial systems and is used in the field of model making, for example.

SMD repair station

A self-produced microcontroller circuit board is reworked with our SMD repair station. The use of modern, environmentally friendly consumables in PCB assembly places high demands on production.

Prototype of a configurable control element

This freely configurable control element was created as part of the AAL project and is intended to demonstrate the completion of a functional prototype. Large, configurable control elements are designed to help people with limited haptic and visual perception to lead a self-determined, safe life at home.

Prototype of the desired operation

A prototype for the "desired operation" of the AAL project is being produced here. This project shows how important interdisciplinary work and communication are in the everyday life of an IT engineer.

Prusa Shield - A protective mask against COVID-19 infections

The Prusa-Shield(Opens in a new tab)  project offers an STL file for creating a corona face shield. Hardware-Werkstatt printed numerous masks to support clinics in the Ruhr area to protect medical staff against droplet infection at a time when no commercial products were available on the market.

The wireless scales

The wireless scale separates the scale section from the control panel. The display remains legible even if the scale is covered by a bowl, for example. A first functional prototype is presented here at the MakerFaire Dortmund. The system was created as part of a computer science thesis.

Software Defined Radio

The software for a DVBT stick used as an SDR receiver is tested here. Digital radio technology is more powerful and flexible than analog technology and is now available at prices below €15. The same components can be used, for example, to communicate wirelessly with wireless sensor components in the context of smart homes and the Internet of Things.

Internet of Things - Node-RED

Here is an example of the software-side configuration of an "Internet of Things" network we created using the Node-RED software. Solutions for recurring problems can be developed with this software on a graphical level.

Illuminated street map Istanbul

The architectural project street map with LED backlighting supported by the Faculty of Computer Science demonstrates the cooperation between the faculties. The LED technology used is more energy-efficient than conventional light sources, has a long service life and the color can be influenced by software.

Dorobo" microcontroller board developed for a small series

The "Dorobo" microcontroller board small series required as part of our training was designed, manufactured, its firmware created, tested and documented in the hardware laboratories following a problem analysis. Information on the entire development process is therefore available for training purposes.


Notes and references

Photo credits

  • Faculty of Computer Science | Department of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Computer Science | Department of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Computer Science | Department of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Computer Science | Department of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Computer Science | Department of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Computer Science | Department of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Computer Science | Department of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Computer Science | Department of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Computer Science | Department of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Computer Science | Department of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Computer Science | Department of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Computer Science | Department of Computer Science

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