Engineering education has the objective of not only presenting the scientific principles, i.e., engineering science, but also of teaching students how to apply these to real problems. Therefore, hands-on laboratories have been an integral part of the engineering curriculum since its inception. This presentation will demonstrate the use of a novel low-cost experimental apparatus for use in a typical undergraduate course in control systems taught to mechanical engineering students, i.e. students with limited exposure to electrical engineering. The system demonstrates the use of MATLAB tools such as Simulink Real Time Windows Target and Control Systems toolboxes to illustrate all stages of design of a closed-loop control systems including: system modeling, parameter identification, analysis of stability of a closed-loop system, design of dynamic compensator in the continuous space and implementation of an equivalent digital controller using the Simulink Real Time Windows Target environment. The hardware apparatus consists of a DC micro-motor attached to a carbon fiber rod. The angular displacement is measured with an analog potentiometer, which acts as the pivot point for the carbon fiber rod. The DC micro-motor is powered by a low cost, custom circuit board, which is USB-powered requiring no external power adaptor or extra cabling. Attached to the micro-motor is a small propeller which provides thrust force needed to rotate the pendulum to a desired angle. The experiment is designed to operate from student's laptops, therefore no special laboratory space is required. The project was tested in a classical control systems design class offered to senior-level mechanical engineering students. Student feedback and survey data on the effectiveness of the module are presented along with examples of student assignments illustrating the use of hardware.