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WIP: Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering Definitions Among Students, Educators, and Industry ProfessionalsMechatronics and Robotics Engineering (MRE) is a growing engineering discipline focused on the creation of smart and autonomous systems and processes in an integrated and interdisciplinary fashion towards improving the quality of human lives. Despite the growing need for MRE professionals and increasing numbers of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, this field does not yet enjoy recognition as a distinct and identifiable discipline. A distinct and identifiable engineering discipline must address four questions: 1) What is the body of knowledge that practitioners must master? 2) What skills must practitioners demonstrate? 3) What are the ways of thinking that permeate the discipline? 4) How do practitioners define and distinguish the discipline? Within the MRE community, there is disagreement over how these questions are addressed, and hence, whether and how to define a unified “mechatronics and robotics engineering” discipline or to differentiate “mechatronics engineering” from “robotics engineering”. Four groups of stakeholders were identified: prospective students, current students, educators, and industry professionals. An online survey with common sections on definitions of “mechatronics engineering” and “robotics engineering” and stakeholder-specific questions about differentiators was distributed to stakeholders via email invitation. Quantitative data analysis was used to code and categorize responses. Preliminary data analysis results formore »
Intelligent Autonomous Systems, including Intelligent Manufacturing & Automation and Industry 4.0, have immense potential to improve human health, safety, and welfare. Engineering these systems requires an interdisciplinary knowledge of mechanical, electrical, computer, software, and systems engineering throughout the design and development process. Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering (MRE) is emerging as a discipline that can provide the broad inter-disciplinary technical and professional skill sets that are critical to fulfill the research and development needs for these advanced systems. Despite experiencing tremendous, dynamic growth, MRE lacks a settled-on and agreed-upon body-of-knowledge, leading to unmet needs for standardized curricula, courses, laboratory platforms, and accreditation criteria, resulting in missed career opportunities for individuals and missed economic opportunities for industry. There have been many educational efforts around MRE, including courses, minors, and degree programs, but they have not been well integrated or widely adopted, especially in USA. To enable MRE to coalesce as a distinct and identifiable engineering field, the authors conducted four workshops on the Future of Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering (FoMRE) education at the bachelor’s degree level. The overall goal of the workshops was to improve the quality of undergraduate MRE education and to ease the adoption of teaching materials to prepare graduatesmore »
Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering (MRE) is one of the engineering disciplines that is experiencing tremendous, dynamic growth. MRE professionals are shaping the world by designing smart systems and processes that will improve human welfare. One’s ability to meaningfully contribute to this field requires her/him to acquire an interdisciplinary knowledge of mechanical, electrical, computer, software, and systems engineering to oversee the entire design and development process of emerging MRE systems. There have been many educational efforts around MRE, including courses, minors, and degree programs, but they have not been well integrated or widely adopted. Now is the time for MRE to coalesce as a distinct and identifiable engineering discipline. To this end, and with support from the National Science Foundation, the authors have planned three workshops, the first of which has concluded, on the future of MRE education at the bachelor’s degree and postgraduate levels. The objectives of these workshops are to generate enthusiasm and inculcate a sense of community among current and future MRE educators; promote diversity and inclusivity within the community; seek feedback from the community to serve as a foundation for future activities; and identify thought leaders for future community activities. The workshops will benefit a wide rangemore »