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Mechatronics vs. EE

  1. Aug 17, 2011 #1
    I'm trying to decide between EE or a Mechatronics program. I have not done tons of research, but my impression is that with Mechatronics there is more focus on "higher level" engineering stuff, like maybe less of the really challenging nitty gritty EE stuff and more microcontroller programming, servo motor stuff, and a focus on robotics. If this is correct, my only worry is that in the end I'll regret not pushing myself to tackle the harder stuff (i.e. harder math etc...) of an EE degree that might be useful at some point.

    So there's the rub - I hear there are lots of jobs out there for folks who can program microcontrollers, but I feel up to the challenge of the math and want to know what are the advantages of each path. Can anyone shed light on what is unique about Mechatronics, what it lacks, what are its strengths, and how it differs from EE? I'm a very multidisciplinary person (I like statics, machines, chemistry, programming) and I'm trying to find a challenging major with good prospects for employment. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2011 #2
    I'm not sure how many schools out there actually have a Mechatronics program; I know of a couple in CA. Can anyone give an idea of what kind of work someone with a Mechatronics background does????
  4. Aug 18, 2011 #3
    Mechatronics is the combination of Mechanical engineering, Electronic engineering, Computer engineering, Software engineering, Control engineering, and Systems Design engineering in order to design, and manufacture useful products[1][2]. Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field of engineering, that is to say it rejects splitting engineering into separate disciplines. Originally, mechatronics just included the combination between mechanics and electronics, hence the word is only a portmanteau of mechanics and electronics. However, as technical systems has become more and more complex the word has been "updated" during recent years to include more technical areas.
    French standard NF E 01-010 gives the following definition: “approach aiming at the synergistic integration of mechanics, electronics, control theory, and computer science within product design and manufacturing, in order to improve and/or optimize its functionality".

    I'm personally thinking of specializing in Mechatronics from Mechanical. It seems very interesting IMO.
  5. Aug 18, 2011 #4
    That's a pretty great description of the major. My favorite part is "it rejects splitting engineering into separate disciplines"

    What schools in the US have mechatronics programs? All I know of is San Jose State in CA.
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