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Future Careers in Embedded Systems, Mechatronics, and Control: 

Future Careers in Embedded Systems, Mechatronics, and Control Mark W. Spong Coordinated Science Laboratory University of Illinois Urbana, IL 61801


Embedded Systems A combination of hardware and software which together form a component of a larger machine. An embedded system is designed to run on its own without human intervention, and may be required to respond to events in real time. Embedded systems are used in industrial machines, automobiles, medical equipment, cameras, household appliances, airplanes, vending machines, cellular phone, PDA’s, toys and many other devices. According to the National Research Council, Information technology (IT) is on the verge of another revolution. The use of Embedded [Networked] Systems throughout society could well dwarf previous milestones in the information revolution. These systems of embedded computers have the potential to change radically the way people interact with their environment by linking together a range of devices and sensors that will allow information to be collected, shared, and processed in unprecedented ways”.


Mechatronics Definition: Mechatronics is the synergistic combination of precision mechanical engineering, electronic controls and systems engineering in the design of products and processes Mechatronics is “Putting Intelligence onto Physical Systems”. Embedded sensors/actuators/processors are integral parts of mechatronic systems


Let’s look at some examples of mechatronic systems Automotive Systems Drive by Wire Camless Engines Robotics Humanoids Telemedicine/Remote Surgery An Air Hockey Playing Robot

Automotive Systems: Technology in today’s vehicle: 

Automotive Systems: Technology in today’s vehicle Adaptive Cruise Control Drive by wire XM Satellite Radio Telematics (OnStar) Software drivetrain Software body control Rain-sensing Wipers In-vehicle entertainment Generation II ABS Heads-up display Night Vision Back-up collision sensor Navigation Tire Pressure Monitor


Five major technology transitions in the auto industry in the next five to ten years: Gasoline to hybrid to fuel cell Mechanical connection to “Drive-by-wire” Proprietary electrical/hardware/software system to standardized “architectures” Adoption and implementation of IT standards in the technology of the car (XML, Web Services, etc.) “On-demand” to “Always-on” vehicle connectivity to the Internet


Drive-by-Wire replaces mechanical connections – push rods, rack & pinion, steering columns, overhead cams, cables – by mechatronic connections – sensors, actuators, embedded microprocessors, control software


Drive-by-Wire Throttle Control

Second Example: Camless Engines: 

Second Example: Camless Engines Cams replaced by actuators and embedded controls What is the advantage?


The Robot is, of course, the ultimate Mechatronic System Robotics


Applications of Robotics Telemedicine/Telesurgery Unmanned vehicles Humanoids Manufacturing automation


The CSL Air Hockey Playing Robot Combines Intelligence Control, Real-Time Vision Sensing and Vision Processing, and Machine Learning

Examples are Everywhere Smart Skis: 

Examples are Everywhere Smart Skis

Smart Systems of All Kinds: 

Smart Systems of All Kinds What smart systems will you invent? ?


Summary The combination of mechanics, electronics, computer hardware and software, and control systems will revolutionize technology in the coming decades This revolution will create exciting career opportunities in: Automotive and Aerospace Industries Medicine and Biomedical Industries Robotics and Automated Manufacturing Computer Hardware and Software Industries Telecommunication Industries We need broadly educated engineers trained in multidisiplinary systems engineering to take advantage of the exciting career opportunities

Good Luck ! Thank you for your attention !: 

Good Luck ! Thank you for your attention !

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