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Introductory Mechatronics Course Created To Fulfill A Freshman Level Engineering Requirement

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Mechanical Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.787.1 - 8.787.9

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Paper Authors

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Tammy Gammon

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

Session 0310

Introductory Mechatronics Course Created to Fulfill Freshman-Level Engineering Requirement

Dr. Tammy Gammon, P.E. N.C. State Engineering Programs at UNC-Asheville

Introduction Although mechatronics education is well established in Europe and Asia, in the United States it has been largely confined to specific interest areas in electrical or mechanical engineering graduate programs. Recently, more U.S. engineering schools have begun incorporating mechatronics as an optional senior design course or as a component to an electromechanical energy conversion course. The specific course described in this paper was developed to meet ABET’s introductory engineering accreditation requirement and designed specifically for N.C. State University’s Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a Mechatronics Concentration at its off-campus site on UNC-Asheville. The mechatronics program, a multi- disciplinary curriculum, requires students to take classes in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science to gain a wider understanding of smart (i.e., computer- controlled) systems and devices. The course uses Parallax’s Boe-Bot to teach students basic microcontroller concepts. The students also learn about basic electrical engineering concepts such as Ohm’s law, power consumption, simple motor fundamentals, wiring techniques, and components. The course may also serve as an interesting introductory course in a mechanical engineering, an electrical engineering, or a computer science program. The two-credit-hour course has been offered twice -- Spring Semesters 2001 and 2002. The course’s philosophy and learning platform, objectives and assignments, structure, and student evaluation are summarized in this work.

Philosophy and Learning Platform The course provides students with the opportunity to build simple electrical circuits and make intelligent decisions based on sensory input. Sensory input can range from the status of a push button to ambient light level. In several exercises, servomotors are used to effect robotic motion. The hands-on course is a confidence builder for students with little hands-on experience. Most students feel the satisfaction gained by achieving the desired physical result, whether the result is a robot behaving in a certain manner or a message scrolling across a liquid crystal display (LCD). The “fun” element of the course further sparks student interest in engineering. Moreover, as in the case of the “piano” assignment, the tasks assigned in this course can be similar or identical to projects assigned in senior level courses – the difference is the level of detail which must be addressed.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Gammon, T. (2003, June), Introductory Mechatronics Course Created To Fulfill A Freshman Level Engineering Requirement Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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