The field of Mechatronics involves a synergistic integration of precision mechanical engineering with electronics and intelligent computer control in the design of products and manufacturing processes. The widespread applications of mechatronics systems and shift towards a mechatronics-based design approach are largely due to the advancements in control theory, electronics, semi-conductors, computers, and internet. Therefore, the multidisciplinary nature of the mechatronics necessitates the need for an educational curriculum which not only exposes the students to the various disciplines involved but also is contemporary despite the fast growth of the mechatronics field. Such an education will result in engineers who can lead the design teams, understand the issues and challenges in various aspects of the design process, make informed judgements about what should be implemented in software, electronics, and mechanical part of the project, and therefore, flourish in a competitive job market.
Our community came out of the gathering of mechatronics educators at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering during a workshop on mechatronics education innovation which was organized by Professor Vikram Kapila and supported by National Science Foundation in November 2016. Despite being very productive and fruitful, the two-day duration of the workshop was not sufficient to cover the wide range of experiences, challenges, and success stories of the participants and many voiced their desire to have an online community where they can continue the discussion, share materials, projects and ideas, or find help.
As I am very passionate about mechatronics education and its future, I decided to volunteer to put the idea to life. With the help from Quanser, the idea of a mechatronics community has now become a reality. Our goal is to provide a space for all the mechatronics education enthusiasts who want to help improve and innovate how we teach mechatronics so that our graduates are well prepared for their future careers.
The Mechatronics Education Community brings you:
- The main Mechatronics Education website which highlights some of the activities in the field of the mechatronics education and provides a sneak peek into the latest discussions on the Forum and events in the community.
- The Mechatronics Education Forum which is the heart of our community. It is a place where you can connect with your colleagues from universities and colleges and join or initiate a discussion on topics that interest you. While you can read the discussions on the Forum as a guest, to get its full benefits, you will need to create your own free account.
- The Repository (accessible through the Forum) aspires to provide a rich library of shared curricula, projects, and other materials that will help mechatronics educators build and improve their programs.
Launching our mechatronics community is just a first step. I hope it will grow into a useful tool, but for that I need your help. Please exchange ideas, thoughts, and experiences. Ask questions, join the discussions - every opinion is valued and welcomed. Share your curricula, project ideas, or other materials that could help your fellow educators. Our community will be only as strong as we make it together. I welcome your ideas and suggestions. Thank you!
Dr. Nima Lotfi