This paper discusses a low cost solution to teaching controls in the laboratory through the use of a novel balance beam. The balance beam provides a vehicle to study many aspects of both control implementation and control algorithms. Due to the complexity of the system, a full semester of laboratory exercises is provided for even advanced students. The flexibility of the system provides challenging exercises for different levels of education. A low overall cost translates to accessibility to more schools. The ability to achieve good tracking performance with a simple cascaded loop controller makes this an ideal tool for teaching controls in a laboratory setting.

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