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Development of A Mechatronics Studio Course in Mechanical Engineering

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Development of Computational Tools

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.417.1 - 23.417.15



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Paper Authors


Biswanath Samanta Georgia Southern University

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Dr. Biswanath Samanta is in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Southern University at Statesboro, Ga. His expertise and research interests include broad areas of system dynamics and control,
robotics, mechatronics, intelligent systems, advanced signal processing, prognostics and health management, and applications of computational intelligence in engineering and biomedicine. Dr. Samanta has developed
and taught numerous courses in these areas and supervised students at both undergraduate and graduate levels. He has more than 100 refereed research articles published by professional bodies like
ASME, IMechE, AIAA, and IEEE. The papers are regularly cited by independent researchers in their publications (more than 1,500 citations). He is a member of ASEE, ASME and a senior member of IEEE.

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Yong Zhu Department of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA 30458

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Dr. Yong Zhu is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Ga. His current research interests include mechatronics, design and control of portable energetic systems.

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Development of A Mechatronics Studio Course in Mechanical EngineeringAbstract: This paper reports the development of a Mechatronics Studio course forundergraduate Mechanical Engineering (ME) students at the authors’ university. The coursecovers three broad areas: mechatronic instrumentation, computer based data acquisition andanalysis, and microcontroller programming and interfacing. Upon successful completion of thecourse, the students will be able to: (i) identify the process and modern tools of dataacquisition, (ii) acquire and display signals from sensors related to mechanical engineeringmeasurements, (iii) analyze, interpret and report experimental data, (iv) apply analog signalprocessing and digital circuits in mechatronic systems, and (v) select sensors and actuators fordesigning and implementing mechatronic systems. These course objectives are related to theprogram outcomes: (i) an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering(ABET criterion 3.a), (ii) an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyzeand interpret data (3.b), (iii) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems(3.e), (iv) an ability to communicate effectively (3.g), and (v) an ability to use the techniques,skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice (3.k). The coursecovers the following topics: Measurement fundamentals; Basic circuits and instrumentation;Analog Signal Processing using Operational Amplifiers; Sensors; Data Acquisition andIntroduction to LabVIEW; Microcontroller Programming and Interfacing; Digital Circuits;Actuators; Programmable Logic Controllers; Mechatronic Systems and Control. This is arequired 2-credit course in ME program. The course is delivered in studio format for fourcontact hours per week with one hour of lecture and three hours of interactive session ofproblem solving and laboratory experiment. For each topic covered, students get the theoreticalbackground and the hands-on experience in the laboratory setting.The laboratory experiments are categorized into three sections. The first section focuses onanalog devices, sensors and circuits. It covers the basic instrumentation, data analysis, analogsensors and op-amp circuits, which familiarize the students with the basic statistical dataprocessing, the instruments that are used in the lab and teach them how to build and analyzesome basic analog circuits. The second section focuses on the LabVIEW based data acquisitionand analysis. This prepares the students for more advanced commercial software based dataacquisition skills, upon which they could further develop real time control system skills forsenior design or graduate studies. The third section focuses on digital microcontroller basedsystem. First the basic programming of BASIC Stamp 2 and the syntax of PBASIC areintroduced; then the design of logic networks and their implementation using digital IC arecovered. The students are able to use a microcontroller to control a DC motor through an H-bridge. Finally, the fundamentals of PLC based control are introduced to help the students gainsome knowledge of PLC analog/digital inputs/output and programming for logic functions,numerical computation, conditional branching etc. It can be seen that this course is thesynergistic integration of mechanical engineering with electronics and computer control, whichis the core of mechatronics. The emphasis has been placed on the application and thesynergistic use of the students’ previous knowledge on software, instruments, circuits anddynamics.Both formative and summative assessment of the students’ performance in the course are doneas a part of the overall assessment and evaluation plan of the Department for ABETaccreditation of the ME program. Both direct and indirect forms of assessment are considered.The positive response of the students and their performance in the course are encouraging. Thefull paper will report the details of the course materials and the results of assessment.

Samanta, B., & Zhu, Y. (2013, June), Development of A Mechatronics Studio Course in Mechanical Engineering Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19431

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