Lodestar: An Integrated Embedded Real-Time Control Engine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In this work we present Lodestar, an integrated engine for rapid real-time control system development. Using a functional block diagram paradigm, Lodestar allows for complex multi-disciplinary control software design, while automatically resolving execution order, circular data-dependencies, and networking. In particular, Lodestar presents a unified set of control, signal processing, and computer vision routines to users, which may be interfaced with external hardware and software packages using interoperable user-defined wrappers. Lodestar allows for user-defined block diagrams to be directly executed, or for them to be translated to overhead-free source code for integration in other programs. We demonstrate how our framework departs from approaches used in state-of-the-art simulation frameworks to enable real-time performance, and compare its capabilities to existing solutions in the realm of control software, emphasizing the convenience of using Lodestar in low-level control system design and implementation. To demonstrate the utility of Lodestar in real-time control systems design, we have applied Lodestar to implement a real-time torque-based controller for a robotic arm. To compare the algorithm design approach in Lodestar to a classical ground-up approach, we have developed a novel autofocus algorithm for use in thermography-based localization and parameter estimation in electrosurgery and other areas of robot-assisted surgery. We use this example to illustrate that Lodestar considerably eases the design process. We also show how Lodestar can seamlessly interface with existing simulation and networking framework in a number of simulation examples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2023 IEEE Conference on Control Technology and Applications, CCTA 2023
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9798350335446
StatePublished - 2023
Event2023 IEEE Conference on Control Technology and Applications, CCTA 2023 - Bridgetown, Barbados
Duration: Aug 16 2023Aug 18 2023

Publication series

Name2023 IEEE Conference on Control Technology and Applications, CCTA 2023


Conference2023 IEEE Conference on Control Technology and Applications, CCTA 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Control and Optimization


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