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Advanced Mechatronics: Development Of A Course On Sensors & Actuators For Mechatronic Systems

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.162.1 - 11.162.15



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Paper Authors


Mohan Krishnan University of Detroit Mercy

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Mohan Krishnan is a Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Detroit Mercy. His area of expertise is in applications of Digital Signal Processing, including Pattern Recognition problems involving both 1-D and 2-D signals such as signature verification and identification of shape contours of objects; problems involving the use of Computational Intelligence techniques such as Fuzzy Logic and Neural Networks in intelligent control and autonomous vehicle navigation; modeling of mechatronic systems; and engineering education. He has published extensively in the area of Computational Intelligence, in particular in modeling handwritten signatures using neural networks for the purpose of authentication, and in engineering education in the area of curriculum development.

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Shuvra Das University of Detroit Mercy

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Dr. Shuvra Das is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UDM. He teaches mechanics of materials, mechanical design, mechatronics, and computer modeling and simulation courses such as finite elements and mechatronic system modeling using bond graphs. His current research interests and publications are in two broad areas: mechanistic modeling of manufacturing processes, and mechatronic systems. He received the Engineering Teacher of the Year Award in 1996, UDM Faculty Achievement Award in 2001, and the ASEE North-Central Section’s Best Teacher Award in 2002. Das earned his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, and M.S. and PhD. degrees from Iowa State University. He was a post-doctoral research associate at University of Notre Dame and worked as an analysis engineer for Concurrent Technologies Corporation prior to joining UDM.

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Sandra Yost University of Detroit Mercy

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Sandra A. Yost, P.E., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Detroit Mercy, where she teaches in the areas of control systems, digital and analog circuits and electronics, and design. She is currently serving on the ASEE Board of Directors as Chair, Zone II.

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Kathleen Zimmerman-Oster University of Detroit Mercy

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Advanced Mechatronics: Development of a Course on Sensors & Actuators for Mechatronic Systems


Mechatronics refers to the growing number of commercial products and industrial processes that involve the integrated application of mechanical and electrical engineering concepts. Despite the importance of this interdisciplinary area, many of today’s engineering graduates are unprepared to function competently in environments that require them to optimally integrate electrical and mechanical knowledge areas. In addition, engineers with better communication and teamwork skills are needed to ensure U.S. competitiveness in today’s global economy.

In order to address this competency gap a team of faculty members (consisting of faculty from both ME and EE departments) started work in the late nineties to integrate Mechatronics-based activities at all levels of the undergraduate engineering curriculum at University of Detroit Mercy. These included a new senior level technical elective in introductory mechatronics along with mechatronic activities in freshman design and in the introductory electrical engineering course for non-EE majors. This effort has been very successful, and now mechatronics activities take place in many pre-college programs that the school runs.

Just over two years ago this team received a National Science Foundation grant to build on the earlier efforts by developing two new advanced courses in the area of Modeling & Simulation of Mechatronic Systems and in the area of Sensors & Actuators for Mechatronic Systems. The first of the two courses has been taught in Winter 2005 and reported on, while the second course was taught in Fall 2005. This paper will describe in detail the construction of the Sensors & Actuators course, as well as results of outcomes assessment conducted by an assessment expert who is also part of our team.

1. Introduction

Mechatronics is defined as the synergistic combination of precision mechanical engineering, electronic control, and intelligent software in a systems framework, used in the design of products and manufacturing processes. Design of modern day products involves the knowledge of different engineering disciplines, as well as an ability to communicate and work well in multi- disciplinary teams. Because engineers are traditionally trained in fields such as either Mechanical or Electrical engineering, many of today’s engineering graduates are not well prepared to function competently in environments that require them to work on products where electrical and mechanical knowledge areas are intertwined.

An ongoing NSF-funded project addresses these competency gaps through the development of two courses incorporating team-oriented and project-based activities, as a follow-up to previous efforts centered around the development of an “Introduction to Mechatronics” course1-5. For this project, we have identified the following goals: (a) to address the need of industrial partners to have engineers educated in the principles and applications of mechatronics, (b) to improve student competencies in communication skills, teamwork, and project management through the

Krishnan, M., & Das, S., & Yost, S., & Zimmerman-Oster, K. (2006, June), Advanced Mechatronics: Development Of A Course On Sensors & Actuators For Mechatronic Systems Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--346

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