June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
11.162.1 - 11.162.15
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.
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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