Mechanical & Materials Engineering


MECH452 : Mechatronics Engineering



Dr. B. SurgenorRoom 225, Nicol Hallbrian.surgenor@queensu.ca(613) 533-2568

Course Description

Students interested in taking this course should contact the instructor directly (brian.surgenor@queensu.ca).

Mechatronics is the multidisciplinary subject that combines elements of computer, electrical and mechanical engineering. Some argue that mechatronics should be considered core to mechanical engineering, because electronics and microprocessors have become such an integral part of mechanical design (link to ASME article).

In MECH 452, mechatronics is studied in a series of labs that deal with applications of sensors, microcontrollers, mobile robots and PLCs. The lectures provide the background to the labs, and include discussion of related industrial applications. The knowledge and experience gained in the lectures and labs is applied to a design project that tests the ability of a team of autonomous mobile robots to navigate a structured environment (as illustrated). The objective of the course is to extend a student's working knowledge of engineering to include applied electronics and microcontroller programming, as well as to introduce issues that impact on the design of mechatronic systems.

The course is timetabled for 2 lectures, 1 tutorial and 6 hours of labs per week. Thus, there is a significant scheduled time commitment.
But there are no take-home assignments, and no final examination.  Please refer to the course outline for marking scheme and class schedule.

Students are attracted to the course because they have an interest in mechatronics and the experiential learning approach taken to the subject that provides hands-on experience in engineering problem solving. But potential students should be aware that an important feature of the course is that performance assessment tasks are machine based. Although realistic, this method of assessment doesn't work for everybody.

Prerequisites: ELEC252 or ELEC310 or ENPH333 or ENPH334, and MECH350 or MTHE332, and permission of instructor.

Objectives and Outcomes

By the end of this course, learners should be able to:

1. Work with a microcontroller software suite/editor and write programs to operate the microcontroller
2. Write programs to read various sensors and/or control various actuators
3. Calibrate performance of different sensors and identify their weaknesses and strengths
4. Demonstrate tuning of a closed loop control algorithm with real hardware 
5. Write programs to enable a mobile robot to perform a complex task, with multiple sensors as inputs
6. Demonstrate lifelong learning skills by finding and reviewing technical specifications of new controllers and/or sensors
7. Write a technical report that succinctly summarizes the results of a laboratory
8. Draw a flowchart given a program specification
9. Debug a software program that fails to run as designed
10. Debug a hardware circuit that fails to run as designed
11. Work with a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) software suite/editor and write programs to operate the PLC
12. Explain what mechatronics engineering is all about, with good and bad examples to illustrate your answer

Relevance to the Program

Course Structure and Activities

9 lab sessions over 7 weeks + 1 class project over 5 weeks. Please refer to SOLUS for times and locations.


There is no required textbook.