Real-time Hardware-in-the-loop Control Platform for MATLAB/Simulink


The HILINK platform offers a seamless interface between physical plants and MATLAB/Simulink for implementation of hardware-in-the-loop real-time control systems. It is fully integrated into MATLAB/Simulink and has a broad range of inputs and outputs. It allows quick test and iteration of control strategies in real-time with a real plant in the loop. The platform is a complete and low-cost real-time control system development package for both educational and industrial applications.

The HILINK platform consists of the real-time control board (hardware) and the associated MATLAB interface (software). The hardware of the HILINK platform has versatile inputs and outputs. The board also contains two H-bridges with 5 A capability to drive external heavy loads. Some inputs and outputs are multiplexed to simplify the hardware. The board is interfaced to the host computer that runs MATLAB through a serial port. The software of the HILINK platform is fully integrated into MATLAB/Simulink and comes with Simulink library blocks associated with each hardware input and output. The platform achieves real-time operation with sampling rates up to 3.8 kHz.

The HILINK platform can be used to control various plants such as servo motors, stepper motors, brushless DC motors, magnetic levitation systems, inverted or rotary pendulums, robotic platforms; read analog, digital and PWM output sensors, such as temperature sensors, Hall effect sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, ultrasonic distance sensors. It can also be used generate variable pulse width and frequency outputs, measure pulse width and frequency of signals, read from files and write to files. The HILINK platform allows the user to implement any desired control strategy using the graphical environment of MATLAB/Simulink, tune the controller parameters while the system is running, and observe the response of the system in real-time.

The HILINK platform has been developed to extend and optimize the real-time operation of MATLAB and Simulink. The developed system is uniquely integrated into MATLAB and Simulink to achieve real-time operation in MATLAB under Windows. The salient features of the HILINK platform make it ideal for implementation of hardware-in-the-loop real-time control systems in both educational and industrial applications.


  • Real-time signal analysis, synthesis, processing and visualization
  • Parameter tuning and optimization
  • Modelling, analysis and design of control systems
  • Real-time control
  • Hardware-in-the-loop simulation
  • Real-time rapid control prototyping
  • Teaching concepts and carrying out experiments in signals and systems labs
  • Real-time data acquisition
  • Mechatronics


EASYIO Extension for HILINK

  • The HILINK board can be used with a USB port with this extension. The achievable real-time closed-loop sampling rate is 1024 Hz

Normal Mode Soft Real-Time Library for HILINK

  • Soft real-time performance in normal mode under 32-bit and 64-bit Windows XP or later
  • Enables HILINK boards to work in normal mode without Real-Time Workshop Real-Time Workshop, MATLAB Coder, Simulink Coder, Real-Time Windows Target and Simulink Desktop Real-Time. Only MATLAB and Simulink are required.
  • Requires only MATLAB and Simulink (Real-Time Workshop, MATLAB Coder, Simulink Coder, Real-Time Windows Target and Simulink Desktop Real-Time are not required)
  • Works with an USB to serial converter
  • I/O blocks have exactly the same functionality