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ERIC Number: ED515642
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 671
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-7568-9
Mechatronics as a Technological Basis for an Innovative Learning Environment in Engineering
Garner, Gavin Thomas
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
Mechatronic systems that couple mechanical and electrical systems with the help of computer control are forcing a paradigm shift in the design, manufacture, and implementation of mechanical devices. The inherently interdisciplinary nature of these systems generates exciting new opportunities for developing a hands-on, inventive, and creativity-focused educational program while still embracing rigorous scientific fundamentals. The technologies associated with mechatronics are continually evolving (e.g., integrated circuit chips, miniature and new types of sensors, and state-of-the-art actuators). As a result, a mechatronics curriculum must prepare students to adapt along with these rapidly changing technologies--and perhaps even advance these technologies themselves. Such is the inspiring and uncharted new world that is presented for student exploration and experimentation in the University of Virginia's Mechatronics Laboratory. The underlying goal of this research has been to develop a framework for teaching mechatronics that helps students master fundamental concepts and build essential technical and analytical skills. To this end, two courses involving over fifty hours worth of technologically-innovative and educationally-effective laboratory experiments have been developed along with open-ended projects in response to the unique and new challenges associated with teaching mechatronics. These experiments synthesize an unprecedentedly vast array of skills from many different disciplines and enable students to haptically absorb the fundamental concepts involved in designing mechatronic systems. They have been optimized through several iterations to become highly efficient. Perspectives on the development of these courses and on the field of mechatronics in general are included. Furthermore, this dissertation demonstrates the integration of new technologies within a learning environment specifically designed to teach mechatronics to mechanical engineers. For mechanical engineering in particular, mechatronics poses considerable challenges, and necessitates a fundamental evolution in the understanding of the relationship between the various engineering disciplines. Consequently, this dissertation helps to define the role that mechatronics must play in mechanical engineering and presents unique laboratory experiments, creative projects, and modeling and simulation exercises as effective tools for teaching mechatronics to the modern mechanical engineering student. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia