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Mechatronics and Robotics Education: Standardizing Foundational Key Concepts

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Mechatronics and Robotics I

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34966

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34966

Download Count

99

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Paper Authors

biography

Kevin Stanley McFall Kennesaw State University

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Before coming to Kenesaw State University, Dr. McFall lived abroad for more than ten years. His international experiences began with a study abroad for his entire undergraduate senior year at the Luleå University of Technology in Sweden 50 miles south of the Arctic Circle. After graduating with his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech, his international travels continued during masters studies at MIT with an appointment at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute in Japan. His work there involved heat transfer in the superconducting magnet systems for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project.

Such positive international experiences led to a research fellow position at Dalarna University in Sweden after graduation from MIT with his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. His research shifted to artificial intelligence and image/signal processing where he was involved in developing an automated winter road condition sensor using artificial neural networks to classify road condition using image and sound input data. The research fellow position at Dalarna University quickly led to a permanent faculty position in the Department of Computer Engineering and Informatics.

In order to help advance his career in academia, he left Dalarna University to pursue a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech’s European campus in Metz, France. He continued working in artificial intelligence by developing an alternative method for solving boundary value problems using artificial neural networks. After getting married soon after graduation, he moved his wife to France where he worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech for two years before accepting a tenure-track position Penn State's Lehigh Valley campus. His current position in mechatronics at KSU allows Dr. McFall to live closer to family and pursue his passion for scholarship at a student-centered technical university. His current research focuses on autonomous vehicles, directing numerous student teams to develop sensor systems and actuation control for self-driving cars.

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Kevin Huang Trinity College Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-0300-9911

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Kevin Huang is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Trinity College. He received the B.S. in Engineering and Mathematics from Trinity College, and the M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with concentration in Systems, Controls and Robotics at the University of Washington. He is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and his research focuses on evaluating haptic feedback, virtual fixtures and usability in telerobotic tasks. He is interested in exploring human factors and human robot interaction.

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Hunter B. Gilbert Louisiana State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-8590-2596

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Hunter B. Gilbert received the B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Rice University, Houston, TX, USA in 2006 and the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University in 2016. In 2016, he joined the department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, where he is currently an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and co-director of the iCORE lab. His research interests include medical robotics, continuum and soft robotics, and other applications of mechatronics in medicine. Dr. Gilbert won the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2012 and was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow from 2016-2019 at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, Germany.

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Musa K. Jouaneh University of Rhode Island Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5754-0364

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Musa Jouaneh is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial, and Systems Engineering at the University of Rhode Island where he has been working since 1990. His research interests include mechatronics, robotics, and engineering education. Dr. Jouaneh founded the Mechatronics Laboratory at the University of Rhode Island, is the author of two text books on mechatronics, is the developer of mechatronics-based tools for engineering education, and is the recipient of several teaching and research excellence awards. He received his Master and Doctorate degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1986 and 1989 respectively. Dr. Jouaneh is a member of ASEE, a senior member of IEEE, and a Fellow member of ASME.

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He Bai Oklahoma State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-4247-0698

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He Bai is an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Oklahoma State University. He received his B.Eng. degree from the Department of Automation at the University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China, in 2005, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2007 and 2009, respectively. From 2009 to 2010, he was a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. From 2010 to 2015, he was a Senior Research and Development Scientist at UtopiaCompression Corporation. He was the Principal Investigator for a number of research projects on sense-and-avoid, cooperative target tracking, and target handoff in GPS-denied environments. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers related to control and robotics and a research monograph "Cooperative control design: a systematic passivity-based approach" in Springer. He holds one patent on monocular passive ranging. His research interests include multi-agent systems, nonlinear estimation and sensor fusion, path planning, intelligent control, and GPS-denied navigation.

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David M. Auslander University of California, Berkeley

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David M. Auslander is Professor of the Graduate School, Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Berkeley. His interests include mechatronics, real time software, and mechanical control. Current projects are building energy control, satellite attitude control, mechanical system simulation, and engineering curriculum. He consults in control and computer applications and legal matters. He was a co-founder of Berkeley Process Control, which sold mechanical control products. His education was at Cooper Union and MIT. He has awards from several engineering organizations.

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Abstract

The field of Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering (MRE) is emerging as a distinct academic discipline. Previously, courses in this field have been housed in departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Computer Science, instead of a standalone department or curriculum. More recently, single, freestanding courses have increasingly grown into course sequences and concentrations, with entire baccalaureate and graduate degree programs now being offered. The field has been legitimized in recent years with the National Center for Education Statistics creating the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code 14.201 Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering. As of October 2019, ABET accredits a total of 9 B.S. programs in the field: 5 Mechatronics Engineering, 3 Robotics Engineering, 1 Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering, and none in Automation Engineering.

Despite recent tremendous and dynamic growth, MRE lacks a dedicated professional organization and has no discipline-specific ABET criteria. As the field grows more important and widespread, it becomes increasingly relevant to formalize and standardize the curricula of these programs. This paper begins a conversation about the contents of a cohesive concept inventory for MRE. The impetus for this effort grew from a set of four industry and government sponsored workshops held around the country named the Future of Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering (FoMRE). These workshops brought together multidisciplinary academic professionals and industry leaders in the field, and ran from September 2018 to September 2019.

The study presented here focuses primarily on programs at the baccalaureate level, but informs discussion at the graduate level as well. A survey is prepared with lists of potential concept inventory items, and asks university faculty, students and practicing engineers to identify which concepts lie at the core of MRE. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the field, a wide range of basic concepts including physical quantities and units, circuit analysis, digital logic, electronics, programming, computer-aided design, solid and fluid mechanics, chemistry, dynamic systems and controls, and mathematics are considered. Questions ask participants to rank the priority or importance of potential core concepts from these categories and also provide opportunities for open-ended response. The results of this survey identify gaps between existing undergraduate curricula, student experience, and employer expectations, and continuing work will provide insight into the direction of a unifying curricular design for MRE education.

McFall, K. S., & Huang, K., & Gilbert, H. B., & Jouaneh, M. K., & Bai, H., & Auslander, D. M. (2020, June), Mechatronics and Robotics Education: Standardizing Foundational Key Concepts Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34966

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