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The formal boundaries of traditional engineering disciplines have become fuzzy following the advent of integrated circuits and computers. Nowhere is this more evident than in mechanical and electrical engineering, where products today include an assembly of interdependent electrical and mechanical components. The field of mechatronics has broadened the scope of the traditional field of electromechanics. Mechatronics is defined as the field of study involving the analysis, design, synthesis, and selection of systems that combine electronic and mechanical components with modern controls and microprocessors. This book is designed to serve as a text for
(1) a modern instrumentation and measurements course, (2) a hybrid electrical and mechanical engineering course replacing traditional circuits and instrumentation courses, (3) a stand-alone mechatronics course, or (4) the first course in a mechatronics sequence. The second option, the hybrid course, provides an opportunity to reduce the number of credit hours in a typical mechanical engineering curriculum. Options 3 and 4 could involve the development of new interdisciplinary courses and curricula.
Currently, many curricula do not include a mechatronics course but include some of the elements in other, more traditional courses. The purpose of a course in mechatronics is to provide a focused interdisciplinary experience for undergraduates that encompasses important elements from traditional courses as well as contemporary developments in electronics and computer control. These elements include measurement theory, electronic circuits, computer interfacing, sensors, actuators, and the design, analysis, and synthesis of mechatronic systems. This interdisciplinary approach is valuable to students because virtually every newly designed engineering product is a mechatronic system.
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