Mechatronics: Blended Engineering for the Robotic Future: Page 3 of 3

The mechatronics engineering discipline is getting a foothold in robotics

do it a different way by calling it mechatronics,” said Devaprasad. “That reduces the risk for the graduates. We include the bread-and-butter engineering fields of mechanical engineering and electrical engineering, and we do it with a robotics concentration. Yet mechatronics is a broader and more useful term for graduates.”

Advanced manufacturing requires the range of skills encompassed by mechatronics, even if only a portion of that manufacturing involves robots. “How does robotics fit in? There are times when mechatronics is used interchangeably with robotics because robotics is a multiple disciplinary function,” Devaprasad said. “Universities are offering degrees in robotics engineering, but the engineers coming out of those programs are going to be called mechatronics engineers.”

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 15 years, 12 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.


Dorota Shortell's picture
I think the word "mechatronics" is broader than "electromechanical" since it also encompasses disciplines like firmware and controls. They are certainly related and linked. The emphasis of mechatronics is to look at electromechanical products from a whole system perspective and more intentionally make sure that the firmware and controls are optimized in addition to the electronics and mechanics.

No doubt, while the word Mechatronics is largely unknown in the US, it has been a part of the standard curriculum of higher education in Europe and Asia for decades. But unfortunately, tradition is a strong force in American higher ed. Our program at Sierra College is a good example of a successful community college Mechatronics program. We turn students into taxpayers.

I came up with the term ICRT to describe the same set of disciplines described here. Information, Communications, Robotics Technology. An extension of IT - Information Technology and ICT - Information Communications Technology. IT is too short for any description of what society is undertaking these days. The thing about ICRT is that it includes homes as well as what we perceive to be ordinary robotics. I like the Mechatronics idea - I'd never seen that term before.

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