IOLab

Featured project: IOLab

PER has developed the IOLab system, built around a low-cost, easy-to-use, all-purpose handheld device that performs a myriad of functions for both introductory and advanced physics courses.

IOLab

IOLab
IOLab
"There’s nothing like having your hands on something while your brain is thinking about it. Some effective learning goes on when your hands are tactilely doing something and you’re seeing it happen, as opposed to just hearing or reading about it."
- Mats Selen, IOLab creator

The device has two parts. One is a wireless, battery-powered black box, slightly smaller than a graphing calculator, containing a small computer, a radio chip and a variety of sensors. The other component contains a receiver and links to a computer through a USB cable. The IOLab – for Interactive Online Lab – can measure acceleration, orientation, magnetic fields, electrical signals, frequency spectra, time constants and more. A user could even measure the speed of light merely equipped with the IOLab, a piece of scrap aluminum and a ruler.

Selen is testing the IOLab and accompanying software in Physics 100, an introductory course with 500 students, many of whom have little or no physics experience. The software guides the students through a lesson and gathers data from the IOLab device for analysis.  The students can see, in real time, how a plot changes based on the motion of the wireless component.

Read more about the IOLab on the Illinois News Bureau site.