This paper presents the use of a low-cost rapid control prototyping platform, HILINK, in teaching a graduate course on neural network control system design for mechanical engineering students. The HILINK platform offers a seamless interface between physical plants and Simulink for implementation of hardware-in-the-loop real-time control systems. With HILINK, student can quickly build a neural network controller for applications using Neural Network Toolbox in Simulink. As a result, students can use one single environment for both computer simulation and hardware implementation to understand theories and tackle practical issues in a limited time frame. The paper presents the experimental setup and implementation process of the NARMA-L2 controller for DC motor speed control, and demonstrates the convenience and effectiveness of using HILINK in developing a neural network controller.

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