Asee peer logo

On The Vertical Integration Of Mechatronics At Virginia Tech

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.762.1 - 6.762.12

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

William Saunders

author page

Donald Grove

author page

Charles Reinholtz

Download Paper |

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

Session 2366

On the Vertical Integration of Mechatronics at Virginia Tech

Donald E. Grove, William R. Saunders, Charles F. Reinholtz Department of Mechanical Engineering Virginia Tech


This paper focuses on the vertical integration of mechatronics in the mechanical engineering curriculum at Virginia Tech. It reports the details of an experimental strategy to integrate mechatronics at an early level in the education of engineers. A proposal was submitted to and accepted by NSF/SUCCEED to fund this experiment. Through this assistance, the experiment of vertically integrating mechatronics was initiated. This paper presents the methodology in which it was integrated -- through optional participation in a sophomore design class. Selected sections were exposed to the concepts of mechatronic design, along with the normal course material. Students in the mechatronics sections were also given an opportunity to incorporate the use of a custom-built VT Project Box and the PIC Visual Development (PVD) software, both of which were created specifically for the task of vertical integration of mechatronics. Throughout the semester, the students were given several demonstrations of mechatronic systems through the use of the project box and software. Many students decided to implement mechatronic concepts in their final design projects. A smaller number of students made a decision to use the project box and software to develop a prototype of their final design project. Candid remarks about the students experiences, obtained from a survey at the semester’s end, indicated that the vertical integration of mechatronics was a motivational feature in the second-year curriculum.


In the past decade, the need for mechanical and electrical engineers to be able to utilize basic skills of each other’s discipline has become increasingly important. It has become such a necessity that many educational institutions now include a senior-level technical elective covering this subject matter. Virginia Tech is one such university that offers a course in mechatronics; however, this is only one course on a subject that bridges four year curriculums. The digital age we are experiencing dictates that for engineering to prosper as a discipline we must become more multitalented. For example, mechanical engineers must be able to use microprocessors and many other of the traditional electrical engineer’s tools. For this to occur, mechatronics needs to be sufficiently integrated in the curriculums. Therefore, a vertical integration of mechatronics in the Mechanical Engineering Department curriculum was proposed to begin this process. Through assistance provided by NSF/SUCCEED, an experiment to vertically integrate mechatronics at an earlier level in the mechanical engineering curriculum was initiated. The fundamental purpose of this project was to illustrate the essentials of mechatronics

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Saunders, W., & Grove, D., & Reinholtz, C. (2001, June), On The Vertical Integration Of Mechatronics At Virginia Tech Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015