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Promoting Open-source Hardware and Software Platforms in Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering Education

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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 II

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count

17

DOI

10.18260/1-2--35107

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/35107

Download Count

25

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Paper Authors

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Nima Lotfi Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

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Nima Lotfi received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Sahand University of Technology, Tabriz, Iran, in 2006, his M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran, in 2010, and his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology,
Rolla, MO, USA, in 2016. He is currently an Assistant Professor with the Mechanical Engineering Department at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL, USA. His current research interests include characterization and electrochemical modeling of Li-ion batteries, traditional and electrochemical model-based Li-ion battery management system design, and real-world applications of
control and estimation theory especially in alternative and renewable energy systems, mechatronics, robotics, and electrified and autonomous transportation. Dr. Lotfi is a member of the IEEE Control Systems Society and ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Division.

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Kenechukwu Churchill Mbanisi Worcester Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5871-3730

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Kenechukwu C. Mbanisi received the B.Eng. degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Covenant University, Nigeria, in 2013, and the M.S. degree in robotics engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), MA, USA in 2018. He is currently working towards the Ph.D. degree in robotics engineering from WPI, USA.
His research interests include human motion modeling, planning and analysis, human-robot and human-machine interaction.

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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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Carlotta A. Berry Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Carlotta A. Berry is a professor in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She is the director of the multidisciplinary minor in robotics and co-director of the Rose building undergraduate diversity scholarship and professional development program. She has been the President of the Technical Editor Board for the ASEE Computers in Education Journal since 2012. She is a member of ASEE, IEEE, NSBE, and Eta Kappa Nu.

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Luis Alberto Rodriguez Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Dr. Luis A. Rodriguez is currently an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). He completed his doctoral training at the University of California-Irvine where he was a National Science Foundation Bridge to the Doctorate Fellow. He completed his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was a GEM fellow and Graduate Engineering Research Scholar. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from University of California San Diego. His interests include robot control, design of mechatronics systems, pneumatic actuation, motion planning and optimal control.

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Majid Molki Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

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Majid Molki is a Distinguished Research Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. During the nearly four decades of academic work, he has explored many aspects of thermal-fluid sciences. He has extensive research records in experimental heat and mass transfer. His more recent activities are focused on computational modeling of viscous Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids, turbulent flows, and targeted heat transfer augmentation using electrically-induced corona jet.

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Abstract

The evolution of Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering (MRE) has enabled numerous technological advancements since the early 20th century. Professionals in this field are reshaping the world by designing smart and autonomous systems aiming to improve human well-being. Recognizing the need for preparing highly-educated MRE professionals, many universities and colleges are adopting MRE as a distinct degree program. One of the cornerstones of MRE education is laboratory- and project-based learning to provide a hands-on and engaging experience for the students. To this end, numerous software and hardware platforms have been developed and utilized in MRE courses and laboratories. Commercial products can provide a rich hands-on experience for the students, but they can be cost-prohibitive. On the other hand, open-source platforms are low-cost alternatives to their commercial counterparts and are being increasingly used in industry. Developing open-source laboratory platforms will be a more feasible option for a wider range of institutions and would enable familiarizing the students with recent technological trends in industry and exposing them to the development details of a real-world system. However, adoption of open-source platforms in MRE courses can be lengthy and time consuming. Educators who wish to utilize such systems typically lack the expertise in all aspects of their implementation which can make them difficult to troubleshoot. Debugging open-source systems can also be challenging because most of the troubleshooting is done through forum discussions which appear to be very noisy and unfocused. The flip side of this chaotic nature of the open-source world is that there is a vast amount of information available, including tutorials, examples, and commentary and, with some focused searching, debugging and usage questions can often get answered. There is also a disconnect between the forum participants, typically computer scientists and hobbyists, and MRE educators and students. Finally, the available resources and documentation for utilizing open-source platforms in MRE education are insufficient and incomprehensive. Therefore, the main goal of this paper is to increase awareness and familiarity with the use of open-source software and hardware packages in MRE education and practice towards accelerating their adoption. To this end, open-source software packages such as Python, GNU Octave, OpenFOAM, Java, Modelica, Gazebo, SPICE, Scilab, and Gnuplot, which have the potential to be useful in the modeling and analysis of MRE systems are introduced. Furthermore, low-cost and powerful open-source hardware packages such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and BeagleBone which can be used as the main processing unit for data acquisition and control implementation in a wide range of MRE systems are reviewed and their limitations and potentials are investigated. This paper provides a valuable resource for MRE students and faculty who would like to utilize open-source hardware and software platforms in their education and research.

Lotfi, N., & Mbanisi, K. C., & Auslander, D. M., & Berry, C. A., & Rodriguez, L. A., & Molki, M. (2020, June), Promoting Open-source Hardware and Software Platforms in Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering Education Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35107

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