What Is Mechatronics?

January 07, 2008

When I search define:mechatronics in Google, two lonely results return (at the time of posting) and I don’t feel they give mechatronics a solid definition. Engineering is often defined as the “application of science and mathematics…” I feel mechatronics should simply be defined as the “application of all engineering disciplines.” However, the most common loose definition I find for mechatronics is the synergistic combination (or integration) of mechanics, electronics, software and computers. I realize that this would not be a dictionary definition, but unless you solve problems and realize the complexities interfacing all the systems of a device, I doubt ’synergy’ evokes the appropriate connotation or denotation of the word mechatronics.

The increasingly common-place Venn-diagram graphic depicts mechatronics at the center of engineering fields. Is mechatronics really part of every engineering field?

My opinion is that the creation of any new widget requires an expert from almost every field of engineering. Even if the product is simple, e.g. a D-FUZZ-IT comb, the manufacturing process required input from mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, .. in other words the product required a complex mechatronic system in order to bring the comb from concept to a final retail product. I believe that any modern product requires some mechatronic insight, whether from a mechanical, electrical, systems or a specifically mechatronic engineer. However, I do not feel that mechatronics is part of every engineering discipline in practice and in education — I think it should be, but is not.

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