ABOUT MECHATRONICS

Mechatronics is a fast growing area of Engineering that is interdisciplinary by nature, as it combines aspects of Mechanics, Control Theory, Computer Science, and Electronics, in order to improve and optimize the design and functionality of systems, as well as making them more economical and reliable. Industrial robots and drones are quintessential examples of mechatronics systems: they include aspects of electronics, mechanics, and computing. Modern production equipment consists of mechatronic modules that are integrated according to a suitable control architecture. Popular examples include automotive subsystems, including anti-lock brakes and spin-assist, as well as everyday equipment, such as autofocus cameras, video, hard disks and CD players.

The complexity of mechatronics requires at least a bachelor’s degree to get into the field. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide specific salary information for mechatronics engineers, it does show that median annual wages for all specialized engineers not categorized was $92,680 as of May 2013. The middle 50% of these professionals earned between $68,610 and $117,930 yearly.

THE NEED FOR MECHATRONICS AT CI

CSU Channel Islands is the only public university in the County of Ventura. The campus is strategically located on the so called “101 Tech Corridor,” sharing the neighborhood with companies such as Amgen, Haas, Teledyne Technologies, HRL Laboratories, and many others, not to mention Point Mugu and Port Hueneme Naval bases, as well as Lockheed, Rocketdyne, and other companies in the greater Los Angeles area. Therefore there is a great need and demand for engineers in the local industry and community.

The local companies strongly support the establishment of an Engineering program on the CI campus, and a comprehensive report was produced in 2013 with recommendation for an engineering degree that would meet the needs of the community. In this report it was noted that Ventura County hires about 290 engineers each year, not to mention that the local Naval Bases send their officers to complete their Engineering degrees across the nation, which results in high costs for the Navy, and a loss of revenue for Ventura County.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

We envision Mechatronics to have the following Program Learning Outcomes:

  1. Be competent engineers and problem solvers.
  2. Possess a high level of erudition in the field of Mechatronics Engineering.
  3. Have knowledge of standard engineering tools, and their application in the field.
  4. Be effective communicators.
  5. Be prepared to undertake engineering jobs in a wide variety of engineering fields.

Based on our experience, and the experience of other programs, we propose the following initial small set of Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Apply knowledge of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering.
  2. Design experiments to evaluate the performance of a mechatronic system or component with respect to specifications.
  3. Design a mechatronic system, component, or process to meet desired needs.
  4. Define and solve an Engineering problem.
  5. Develop and defend a written statement of professional ethical responsibility related to their field of study.
  6. Ability to communicate effectively.

1 will be covered in the first two years’ science and introductory courses (programming, calculus, chemistry, physics, etc.), and rigorous logical / critical thinking will be taught in many courses, for example MATH/PHIL 230. 2, 3, 4 will be covered in multiple courses, for example Engineering Design will be taught in EMEC 225, while solving engineering problems will be taught in Mobile Robotics (EMEC/COMP 470) or Embedded Systems (EMEC/COMP 462). Communication skills will be taught in General Education courses, such as first-year writing courses.

NEW COURSES

EMEC 200 – Logic Circuits: Basics of digital electronic devices and methodologies used in digital circuit design. Design, analysis and trouble shooting of logic gates, counters, registers, memory units, pulse and switching circuits, and control circuits. Comparison of digital TTL integrated circuits with other families of logic devices. Includes student projects.

EMEC/PHYS 221 – Engineering Materials: Examines the interrelationships between processing, structure, properties, and performance of various engineering materials such as metals, polymers, ceramics, composites, and semiconductors. Studies the effects of heat, stress, imperfections, and chemical environments upon material properties and performance. Emphasizes developing an ability to select appropriate materials to meet engineering design criteria.

EMEC 225 – Engineering Design: Introduction to engineering design processes, methods, and decision making using team design projects; design communication methods including graphical, verbal, and written.

EMEC 311 – Digital Systems Design: Introduces students to the design of digital systems using hardware description languages. The student will the use computer-aided design tools to design, simulate, prototype, and verify complex digital systems using programmable logic devices and field-programmable gate arrays.

EMEC 315 – Modeling of Mechatronic Systems: Introduces students to modeling techniques and analysis of mechatronic systems. Topics such as state-space and transfer function representation, linearization, and frequency domain analysis are covered. Simulation software will be utilized to quantify and visualize system performance.

EMEC 316 – Sensors and Measurements: Basic measurements with standard laboratory instruments and common sensor interfaces are introduced. Topics include the calibration, transient responses, and statistical characterization of common sensors used in mechatronic systems.

EMEC 401 – Fluid Mechanics: Principal concepts and methods of fluid mechanics are introduced. Students will learn to apply these concepts and methods to the design of fluid systems.

EMEC 463 – Feedback Control Systems: Analysis and design of feedback control systems. Topics include representing dynamical systems with transfer functions and state variables, stability and dynamic analysis using techniques from both the time and frequency domains, the design of feedback regulators and controllers, and computer aided design and analysis.

EMEC 491 – Capstone Preparation: Research and develop a proposal for a significant Mechatronics project under faculty supervision.

EMEC 499 – Capstone: Design, implement and present a significant Mechatronics project under faculty supervision.

COMPLETE MECHATRONICS CURRICULUM

CodeNameUnitsGEPrerequisites
CHEM 105Introduction to Chemistry3 No prerequisites
MATH 150Calculus I43Calculus Placement Exam. or MATH 105
COMP 150Object Oriented Programming43MATH 105 or equiv., COMP 105 or permission
MATH 151Calculus II4 MATH 150
MATH 250Calculus III3 MATH 151 with at least a C
COMP 151Data Structures and Program Design4 COMP 150
COMP 162Computer Architecture and Assembly Language3 COMP 150
MATH/PHIL 230Logic and Mathematical Reasoning33No prerequisites
MATH 240Linear Algebra3 MATH 151
COMP 232Programming Languages3 COMP 150, COMP 151, COMP 162
COMP 262Computer Organization and Architecture3 COMP 151, COMP 162
EMEC 200Logic Circuits4 MATH 150, MATH 230, COMP 162
EMEC 225Engineering Design3 EMEC 200
PHYS 200General Physics I43MATH 150
PHYS 201General Physics II4 PHYS 200, MATH 151
EMEC/PHYS 221Engineering Materials3 CHEM 105, PHYS 200
PHYS 301Classical Mechanics3 PHYS 200, MATH 350
COMP 350Introduction to Software Engineering3 COMP 232, COMP 262
MATH 350Differential Equations & Dynamical Systems3 MATH 250
MATH 352Probability and Statistics3 MATH 351
EMEC/PHYS 310Electronics4 PHYS 201
EMEC 311Digital Systems Design3 EMEC 200
EMEC 315Modeling of Mechatronics Systems3 MATH 350
EMEC 316Sensors and Measurements3 COMP 151, EMEC/PHYS 310
EMEC/COMP 462Embedded Systems3 COMP 350 or consent
EMEC/COMP 470Mobile Robotics3 COMP 350, MATH 240 or consent
EMEC 463Feedback Control Systems3 MATH 240, MATH 350
EMEC 491Capstone Preparation1 Senior standing in Mechatronics Major
EMEC 499Capstone3 Senior standing in Mechatronics Major
 Major93  
 GE/AIR39  
 Total132  
Optional Electives:
EMEC 401Fluid Mechanics3 Senior standing in Mechatronics Major
EMEC/PHYS 305Thermal and Statistical Physics3 MATH 350, PHYS 201
COMP/ART/IT 464Computer Graphic System and Design I3 COMP 350, MATH 240

 

ABET ACCREDITATION

From the ABET website:

We are a nonprofit, non-governmental accrediting agency for programs in applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology and we are recognized as an accreditor by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession for which that program prepares graduates.

A scrutiny of the ABET requirements for Mechatronics shows that many of the courses required for such a degree are already being offered at CI. We have a strong offering in Computer Science, Mathematics, and Physics, and with a modicum of effort we could have a program meeting the requirements for an ABET accreditation. The main investment would be three new faculty members, and appropriate lab equipment. We have already hired a new faculty (starting date fall 2017), Houman Dallali, and we are going to hire further two new faculty. Our goal is to seek ABET accreditation within 4 to 5 years.

LAB SPACE

The new lab space in the Sierra Hall building opened in the fall of 2015. We have 3 general labs, and 3 dedicated labs (Robotics, Embedded Systems, and Networks & Security), as well as a tutoring center. More information about our labs can be found here: http://compsci.csuci.edu/resources/labs.htm. We are also in the process of organizing further space for our Mechatronics needs, but the current labs are well set up for the initial needs.