Current tools for the mathematical modelling of mechatronic systems are becoming more and more powerful and efficient, allowing for the realistic simulation of devices and related tasks of increasing complexity. One open problem in this setting, however, is the limited capability for system definition, which mostly forces the user to translate her or his problem to implementation-specific keywords and phrases. While this approach offers a maximum in flexibility, it is tedious and error-prone, and thus, not so well suited for applications in which the purpose of modelling is to obtain a rapid notion of the behaviour of a system. Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) may help to alleviate these flaws, allowing the user to enter the system parameters and configurations in a more familiar and intuitive way and making the results of the input immediately controllable by mere visual inspection. This, again, helps to boost the efficiency of the modelling activity. The goal of this project is to produce such a GUI, whose basic capabilities will be to visually generate and interconnect models of joints, links and other parts of a mechanical system at the click of a mouse. The implementation will be based on X-Windows and the Inventor graphic library, two de-facto standard technologies which are becoming widely spread among Unix workstations. It is envisioned to employ the resulting GUI for furnishing the two packages for the modelling of multibody systems developed at the University of Duisburg and at CIM with the corresponding capability.
A. Kecskemethy, J. Angeles