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Mechatronics

More questions than answers!


Professor David Bradley

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop


November 2012
University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Question
What is mechatronics?
Nanotechnologies
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Sensing

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A

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Ve

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Issu bility
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Te
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M
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Ma
h

stems
us Sy
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Prosth
eses

Design Process
University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

tion
Educa
an
ism

He
Sys alth
tem
s

Marine Systems
s
David Bradley

Question
Is attempting to provide a formal expression of
mechatronics, either textually or graphically, a
source of confusion?

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Definitions of Mechatronics - Text

The synergistic combination of precision engineering, electronic control and


systems thinking in the design of products and manufacturing processes.

Mechatronics is a design philosophy that utilizes a synergistic integration of


Mechanics, Electronics and Computer Technology (or IT) to produce enhanced
products, processes or systems.

The blending of software [and] hardware for the design [and] analysis of
advanced control techniques.

Industrial Research and Development Advisory Committee of the European Community

Loughborough University

Clemson University

The synergistic combination of mechanical engineering, electronics, control


systems and computers, all integrated through the design process.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Mechatronics is concerned with the blending of mechanical, electronic, software,


and control theory engineering topics into a unified framework that enhances the
design process.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute

An integrating theme within the design process [combining] electronic


engineering, computing and mechanical engineering.

http://mechatronics.colostate.edu/definitions.html
University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Definitions of Mechatronics - Text

The synergistic combination of precision engineering, electronic control and


systems thinking in the design of products and manufacturing processes.

Mechatronics is a design philosophy that utilizes a synergistic integration of


Mechanics, Electronics and Computer Technology (or IT) to produce enhanced
products, processes or systems.

Industrial Research and Development Advisory Committee of the European Community

Loughborough University

The blending of software [and] hardware for the design [and] analysis of
advanced control techniques.

The synergistic combination of mechanical engineering, electronics, control


systems and computers, all integrated through the design process.

Mechatronics is concerned with the blending of mechanical, electronic, software,


and control theory engineering topics into a unified framework that enhances the
design process.

An integrating theme within the design process [combining] electronic


engineering, computing and mechanical engineering.

Clemson University

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

http://mechatronics.colostate.edu/definitions.html
University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Definitions of Mechatronics - Text

The synergistic combination of precision engineering, electronic control and


systems thinking in the design of products and manufacturing processes.

Mechatronics is a design philosophy that utilizes a synergistic integration of


Mechanics, Electronics and Computer Technology (or IT) to produce enhanced
products, processes or systems.

The blending of software [and] hardware for the design [and] analysis of
advanced control techniques.

Industrial Research and Development Advisory Committee of the European Community

Loughborough University

Clemson University

The synergistic combination of mechanical engineering, electronics, control


systems and computers, all integrated through the design process.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Mechatronics is concerned with the blending of mechanical, electronic, software,


and control theory engineering topics into a unified framework that enhances the
design process.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute

An integrating theme within the design process [combining] electronic


engineering, computing and mechanical engineering.

http://mechatronics.colostate.edu/definitions.html
University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Definitions of Mechatronics - Text

The synergistic combination of precision engineering, electronic control and


systems thinking in the design of products and manufacturing processes.

Mechatronics is a design philosophy that utilizes a synergistic integration of


Mechanics, Electronics and Computer Technology (or IT) to produce enhanced
products, processes or systems.

Industrial Research and Development Advisory Committee of the European Community

Loughborough University

The blending of software [and] hardware for the design [and] analysis of
advanced control techniques.

The synergistic combination of mechanical engineering, electronics, control


systems and computers, all integrated through the design process.

Mechatronics is concerned with the blending of mechanical, electronic, software,


and control theory engineering topics into a unified framework that enhances the
design process.

An integrating theme within the design process [combining] electronic


engineering, computing and mechanical engineering.

Clemson University

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

http://mechatronics.colostate.edu/definitions.html
University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Definitions of Mechatronics Graphical

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Question
Does the emphasis within mechatronics need
to shift from integration across core disciplines
to encompass a holistic view of system design
and development?

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Why am I confused!?
Mechatronics - Then & Now
Then - 1970

PDP-8 (1965) & PDP-11 (1970)

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Why am I confused!?
Mechatronics - Then & Now
Then - 1970
Radar

Apollo guidance computer Range

Display &
DSKY
keyboard

Direction
Velocity

Engine
Commands

Navigation
Star-Tracking
Inertial
Platform

Manual
Control
Signals

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

Attitude
Controls

Telemetry

Data
Display

David Bradley

Why am I confused!?
Mechatronics - Then & Now
Now - 2012

Multi-core processors

Low cost, high capacity memory

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Why am I confused!?
Mechatronics - Then & Now
Now - 2012

Flexible circuit boards

Smart phones

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Mechatronics Publications
Mechatronics

Mechatronics + Design

Journal Publications

900
800
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
1981 1985

1986 1990

1991 1995

1996 2000

2001 2005

2006 2010

Years

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Mechatronics Publications
Conference Publications

Mechatronics

Mechatronics + Design

12,000
10,000
8,000
6,000
4,000
2,000
0
1981 1985

1986 1990

1991 1995

1996 2000

2001 2005

2006 2010

Years

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Mechatronics Publications

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Question
Some 40 years or more after it was first
proposed, has mechatronics become
embedded within mainstream engineering, or
does it remain a distinct discipline within
engineering design?

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Design Models
Need

Analysis of
Problem

Requirements
Analysis

Service

Requirements
Documents

Certified
System

Test Planning

Certification

Specificatiion

Feedback

Statement
of Problem

Conceptual
Design

Verified
System

Test Planning

Specification

High-Level
Design

System Test

Design
Specification

Selected
Schemes

Detailing

Working
Drawings

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

System
Integration

Detailed
Design

Module
Design

Embodiment

Integrated
System

Test Planning

Test
Planning

Construction/
Coding

Tested
Modules

Module Test

Development
Phase

Output from
Phase

Modules

David Bradley

Design Based Issues - Communications

Theoretician
Reviews design process and
outcomes

Pragmatist
Emphasis on problem solving
Selects, uses and refines methods
Generates solutions

Identifies methods and


procedures

Establishes practice

Establishes good practice


Refines theories

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Design Based Issues - Software


Relationships between system technologies, and particularly
software
The assumption that it is all software now and that as changes to software
were relatively easy, changing the system was itself easy.
Demands on software by other parts of the system because of the perception
that it was easy to make the change there!

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

Consider the case in 1997 of F22 Raptors


flying from Hawaii to Okinawa which when
they crossed the International Date Line lost
all navigation aids.

The problem was traced to a coding error


which resulted in an infinite loop as a
consequence of the unexpected date change.

In the words of Donald Shepperd, a former


head of the US Air National Guard, Reliance
on electronics has changed the flight-test
process. It used to be tails falling off, now its
typos that ground a fighter.

David Bradley

10

Design Based Issues - Complexity

As systems become increasingly complex, it is difficult, and often indeed


impossible, for any single individual to manage all the levels of detail
required.

This leads to a necessary partitioning of function to levels at which an


individual can operate with an understanding at the level of the domain
experts of their task and of the nature of that task within the wider context
of the overall system.

Failure to achieve this understanding can then have a significant impact on


the outcomes of the design process.
The Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) was lost in 1999
when a failure in communications between the
group responsible for navigation, who customarily
used Newton-seconds to express thrust, and that
responsible for the propulsion system, who in
contrast used pound-seconds to express thrust,
resulted in the MCO being 100 km too close to Mars
when it attempted to enter orbit.

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Design Based Issues


Overemphasis on core disciplines

Mechatronics by implication and usage is associated with the three core


disciplines of electronics, mechanical engineering and information
technology.

This can result in a lack of focus on issues such as aesthetics or


manufacturing technology which may ultimately determine the success of the
product or system.

Lack of a broader awareness of the overall context within which the


mechatronics approach is being deployed is therefore likely to be detrimental
both to outcomes, and to an outsiders view of the nature of mechatronics.

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

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Question
Within a systems context, is it the case that
mechatronics applies to the lower levels of any
hierarchy while at the upper levels it is systems
engineering that is more important?

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Mechatronics v Systems Engineering

- The WHAT

Procedural
Information

Human
based
systems

Machine
based
systems

Systems
Engineering

Process Layer

Data Translation &


Interpretation between
Process Layers

Mechatronics
Process Information
- The HOW

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

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Mechatronics v Systems Engineering


MEANING
Current/Potential

INNOVATION
New/Old

Object Dimension

Novelty

Temporal
Dimension

Change

Social
Dimension

Advantage

Communication Theory
Evolution
Differentiation
Systems Theory
Systems/Environment
After S Roth, 2009, New for whom? Initial images from the social dimension of
innovation, Intl. J. Innovation & Sustainable Development, 4(4), pp 231 251
University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Question
Does the very flexibility and adaptability of the
mechatronics concept work to its advantage in
education, whilst adding to the diversity of
perception as to what, in the widest sense,
mechatronics represents?

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

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Education
Engineering graduates perceived as having a range of
weaknesses including:

Technical arrogance

Lack of design capability

Lack of appreciation of alternatives

Lack of appreciation for variation

Poor overall perception of a project

Narrow view of engineering and related disciplines

Weak communication skills

Little skill or experience of working in teams

Unfortunately, this remains essentially true though ALL of the


above, except of course arrogance, relate to skills which
should be embedded within Mechatronics education!

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Education
Need to encourage innovation, novelty and risk taking by
mechatronic students, particularly in relation to design.
BARRIERS
Modular Course Design
Imposes artificial boundaries on content (and context).
Mitigates against integration.
Grades and Grading Systems
Focuses on module specific aims, objectives and
outcomes.
Emphasis on what is required to pass, resulting in a
conservative approach by students.

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

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Education
The challenge of content
Information Technology

Available Content

100

Software systems
Applications programming
Advanced HMI
The Internet
Networking

Electronics

10

1
1970

Multi-core processors
Flexible circuit boards
Sensor technologies
MEMS technologies
Networking

Mechanical Engineering
2010

Materials
Modelling
MEMS technologies

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Education
Content will in general be determined by:

The backgrounds and interests of the staff involved in


teaching the course
Industrial requirements, both locally and nationally.
Student perceptions and interests.
Availability of resources, particularly human and financial.
Research activity.

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

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Education
The Internet of Things Next Generation Mechatronics?
"Today computers - and, therefore, the Internet - are almost wholly
dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the roughly 50
petabytes of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by
human beings, by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture or
scanning a bar code.
....
If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things,
using data they gathered without any help from us, we would be able to track
and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost.
We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and
whether they were fresh or past their best.
The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the
Internet did. Maybe even more so.
Kevin Ashton, 1999

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Education
The Internet of Things Development over Time

Technology Reach

Miniaturisation, power
efficient electronics,
available spectrum

Ability of devices
located indoors to
receive signals

Teleoperation and
teleprescence. Monitor and
control distant objects

Locating people
and objects

Cost reduction
leading to
diffusion into 2nd Surveillance, security,
wave of healthcare, transport,
applications food safety & document
management
Demand for
expedited logistics
RFID Tagging to
facilitate routing, control
and loss prevention

Software agents
and advanced
sensor fusion
PhysicalWorld web

Ubiquitous
positioning

Vertical market
applications

Supply chain
helpers

Time
University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

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Education
Representation

The Internet of Things The Dimensions of Smart Objects

Workflow

Rules

y
ctivit
Intera

Functions
re
y a wa
Activit
a
Policy

ware
are
s s aw
Proce

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

Awa
rene
ss

David Bradley

Education
The Internet of Things Actions
Information & Analysis Monitoring the behaviour of objects
within a defined framework in both space and time.
Situational Awareness Real-time monitoring of and interaction
with a range of environments.
Data & Information Driven Systems Distributed and networked
sensors contributing to a rich information environment driven by
advanced data analysis and visualisation.

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

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Education
The Internet of Things Applications
Logistics Materials management and tracking.
Health Real-time monitoring of conditions and detection of
change through interaction with a range of environments and
including implantable sensors.
Smart Environments Direct management of a range of
environments in response to the individual.
Personal Social networking and interaction, virtual communities
and security.
The Future Almost anything you can think of!

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Education
The Internet of Things Areas of Interest
Cyber Security of Things Security and hacking in the totally
connected world.
Embedded Digital Forensics Who owns your data, Cybercrime
on the Internet of Things?
Social Networking & Mobility Using mobility within the virtual
environment to support mobility in the physical environment.
Accessibility The use of Near Field Communications to
generate a human scale view of the environment.

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

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Education
The Internet of Things Areas of Interest
e-Inclusion Flexible and intelligent interfaces to support the
widest possible range of users through assistive apps and
developer education (c.f. iAge project @ www.iageproject.eu).
Thin Client Devices Use of web services to extend functionality
to such devices.
Human Identification Technologies Specifically, the use of
such technologies to modify and control device functionality.
Art for the Artless Using the new forms of natural interaction,
such as touch and gesture, to produce new forms of creative
content such as music or social interactive art.

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

A Final Question
Does the term mechatronics have a continuing
value requiring members of the community to
live with the name, despite the fact that the
motivation for its original construction has
perhaps long since gone?

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

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I am afraid I have no answer to that one!

Thank You
University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

Mechatronics
More questions than answers!
Professor David Bradley

University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop


November 2012
University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

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University of Linz Mechatronics Workshop November 2012

David Bradley

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