The rig consists of a Xilinx Spartan 6fpga board - Nexys3 from Digilentinc, allowing students to use VHDL tools to compose, upload and test their real-time implementations on a physical FPGA board.
Using contemporary development tools (available for free), students would typically implement a specific design on their own computers using VHDL. To test the design, they log into the FPGA remote laboratory, upload the compiled bitstream via a web interface and test their designs in real-time. Inputs are realised through soft-switches on the web browser, and cameras provide views of the LED, 7-segment, alpha numeric and vga display outputs. Possible laboratory exercises include the development of state machine-based systems like timers and counters, traffic light controller simulations, control of rc servo motors, text and graphical video display and microprocessor components, such as Arithmetic and Logic Units (ALUs), barrel shifters, and floating point units.