Introduction to Mechatronics

2011's Presentation

In 2011, the class was tasked with building a droid fight in a bullfight, where the droid could act as either bull or matador, Slug-o-Lete. The final project was the subject of a KSBW short news story, which can be seen here, and a Santa Cruz Sentinel article, which can be found here.


Mechatronics is the synergistic combination of mechanical engineering ("mecha" for mechanisms), electronic engineering ("tronics" for electronics), and software engineering. The purpose of this interdisciplinary engineering field is the study of automata from an engineering perspective and serves the purposes of controlling advanced hybrid-systems such as production systems, synergy-drives, planetary-rovers, automotive subsystems such as anti-block system, spin-assist and every day equipment such as autofocus cameras, video, hard disks, cd-players, washing machines, lego-matics etc.

Mechatronics is centered on mechanics, electronics and computing which, combined, make possible the generation of simpler, more economical, reliable and versatile systems.

The word "mechatronics" was first coined by Mr. Tetsuro Moria, a senior engineer of a Japanese company, Yaskawa, in 1969. Mechatronics may alternatively be referred to as "electromechanical systems," or as "smart products."


This course is based on a the Smart Product Design sequence (ME218A, B, C), and the one quarter Mechatronics class (ME210/EE118) offered at Stanford by the Smart Product Design Lab, headed by Dr. Ed Carryer.

I would like to acknowledge the tremendous help of Prof. Ed Carryer of Stanford University in teaching the subject matter to me, for all of his help with the slides, the software libraries, and the electronic hardware, and lastly for pioneering this video capture technology, and helping me to set this course up. Without his help and inspiration, this class would not be here.

I would like to thank Texas Instruments Corp. for generously supplying the class with most of the semiconductor parts that make up the full set of lab boards. I wuold also like to thank Marc McComb of Microchip Corp. for supplying us with the microcontroller boards and debuggers needed for this class. Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the incredible work by the class TA, Max Dunne, in designing, ordering, fabricating, debugging, and soldering the new board sets that make up the hardware for this class -- it was yeoman's work, and he did it very well indeed.

General Class Information

Lecture times: Tuesday-Thursday, 2:00 - 3:45PM, Jack Baskin Engineering #372

Associated Lab: Jack Baskin Engineering #115 (Open 24/7), TA times TBD


[CKO]: Introduction to Mechantronic Design, 1st Ed., Carryer, Ohline, and Kenny, Prentice Hall, 2010

[H&H]: The Art of Electronics, 2nd Ed., Horowitz and Hill, Cambridge University Press, 1989 (Optional)

[Rorabaugh]: Mechanical Devices for the Electronics Experimenter, Rorabaugh, TAB Books, 1995 (Optional)


Name: Gabriel Hugh Elkaim (

Phone: 831-459-3054

Office: E2-337B

Office Hours: T-Th 12-2PM, or by appointment

Lab: Autonomous Systems Lab, E2-316

Mechatronics Lab: Baskin Engineering #115, Lab open 24/7

TA Lab Sessions: TBD

Instructors and Assistants

Class Web Page