Introduction to Mechatronics
Mechatronics is a relatively new and highly innovative engineering discipline. It combines the expertise from areas of electrical and mechanical engineering with information processing. Mechatronic systems normally work on the sense-think-act paradigm. They collect information with the help of sensors (sense-phase). This information is processed and decisions are made with the help of computers or microcontrollers (think-phase). These decisions are passed on to actuators in order to generate proper forces or movements (act-phase). Such systems are present in almost every branch of industry. Common examples of these systems are robots; unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs); 3-D printers; ABS, ESP, electronic throttle and power windows of a vehicle etc. There are seldom new products, which are only mechanical, only electrical or only electronic devices. In new technical products electronic and electromechanical components are combined with information processing units and software, which makes them “intelligent machines”. In order to design such machines engineers need a solid understanding of all these fields. The degree programme Mechatronics is the answer to this challenge.