Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Charles Stanley.


As mechanical product designs become more complex, integrating electromechanical components with embedded control circuitry, the need for engineering graduates with a diversified educational background in multidisciplinary applications has been recognized within many facets of industry. The focus of this research was to create a series of laboratory experiments and a capstone project based on a survey of literature from current educators that could be used to introduce sophomore-level mechanical engineering students to fundamentals in the field known as "mechatronics", which incorporates the traditional disciplines of mechanical, electrical and software engineering. The lab exercises utilize the Handy Board microcontroller from MIT Media Laboratories to introduce analog and digital concepts as well as simple C programming. The project, which is based on application of the material presented in the labs, involves design and construction of an autonomous vehicle that is capable of collision detection, automatic start-up and line following behavior. A prototype of the vehicle, equipped with photoresistors and subminiature switches for sensors, successfully negotiated a 79-inch long, winding course, which was created using white tape on a black background, in approximately 6 seconds. The prototype demonstrated the application of material covered in the exercises and the viability of the project as a tool for demonstrating mechatronics concepts.