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Microcontroller Education For Mechanical Engineering Students At The University Of South Carolina

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.912.1 - 9.912.10

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Paper Authors

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Victor Giurgiutiu

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David Rocheleau

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Jed Lyons

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


Mechatronics/Microcontroller Education for Mechanical Engineering Students at the University of South Carolina Victor Giurgiutiu, Jed Lyons, David Rocheleau Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 29208,


The Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of South Carolina has embarked upon a project to enhance the Mechatronics/microcontroller education of non-EE engineering students. NSF funds the project with cost-share by the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the College of Engineering and Information Technology. This paper presents the preliminary results obtained in this project. First, the state of the art in Mechatronics education is presented and discussed. Then, focus is shifted to the Mechatronics education in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Carolina. Subsequently, the paper examines the hardware and software used for mechatronics/microcontroller education. Examples are given of the MC68HC11 microcontroller and the different evaluation boards used for (a) code development; and (b) embedded applications. Then, attention is given to the software used in the mechatronics/microcontroller education. The THRSim11 comprehensive simulation and interfacing software is described. Finally, the paper discusses the interfacing between the microcontroller and the various electro-mechanical sensing and actuation components used in a mechatronics project. The use of functional modules for teaching interfacing skills to non-EE students is described and exemplified. The paper finishes with conclusions and further work.


THE NEED FOR MECHATRONICS EDUCATION Due to the accelerated growth of electronics, computers and information technology industries, a gap has emerged between the teachings of traditional non-EE engineering education (e.g., Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, etc.) and the skills expected of non-EE graduates entering the job market. A recent job announcement for hiring a mechanical engineering graduate states “immediate opening for a Mechanical Design Engineer: broad knowledge in mechanical design and two or more of the following disciplines is required: electro-mechanical devices (preferably piezoelectric), opto-mechanics, precision components and mechanisms; must have demonstrated capabilities in the use of computer-aided engineering systems.” A deluge of computers, sensors, microcontrollers, actuators has permeated present-day society. Microcontroller-based devices and appliances are found in all aspects of our everyday life. Even the auto industry, a traditional mechanical engineering fiefdom, is putting tens of microcontrollers in a modern automobile, and plans to increase this number multifold as new technologies are being introduced. As revealed by a recent site visit to our university by BMW auto plant representatives, hybrid propulsion, 42-Volts wiring bus, “steer-by-wire”, “brake-by-

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Giurgiutiu, V., & Rocheleau, D., & Lyons, J. (2004, June), Microcontroller Education For Mechanical Engineering Students At The University Of South Carolina Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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