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Jack Baskin School of EngineeringUC Santa Cruz

CMPE 118/L

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CMPE 118/L(218/L) - Mechatronics - Winter 2012

Final Project: Slugs of the Caribbean: On Stranger Slimes, invite.

Public Demo on Wednesday, 14-Mar-2012, in Baskin 101 @ 7:00 - 9:00PM

Photo archive is here

Article in Santa Cruz Sentinel/San Jose Mercury News

Webcast of contest data projector

Webcast of contest rear camera (not high quality)

Class T-shirts can be purchased from zazzle

2011's Presentation

In 2011, the class was tasked with building a droid that fought in a mock bullfight, where the droid could act as either the Bull or the Matador, Slug-o-Lete. The final project was the subject of a Sentinel news article here, and a KSBW short news story, which can be seen 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 also like to thank Texas Instruments Corp. for generously donating the bulk of the semiconductor parts for the new lab hardware, and to Microchip Corp. for donating the microcontroller boards and in-circuit programmers. Lastly, I would like to thank the class TA, Max Dunne, for yeoman's work in putting together the new PIC32 based hardware. It was a huge project, and he went above and beyond the call of duty to make this happen.

Index of class resources

  • General Class Information — class and section times, instructor and TA information
  • Lecture Video — Video files of the lectures, and download information for the right codec.
  • Handouts — quizzes, quiz solutions, other helpful handouts.
  • WebForum - for announcements, general discussion, and help.


Lecture Videos

The technology to record these videos is supported by a grant from the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), and it is an experiment. Feedback as to the utility, and the usability of these videos would be highly appreciated. The basic hardware required is a tablet PC with the Office Tablet PC extensions, and a standard headset to capture the lecturers voice. Additionally, a program called Camtasia is used to capture the entire sequence into a standard movie format that can then be viewed at a later time for review and additional study.

You may view these lectures at any time, but do not distribute them beyond the UCSC environment. These lectures have been created using the Camtasia software, and can be played through the Camtasia player software, downloadable for free from Techsmith here, or through the standard windows media player with the techsmith codec. A Mac OSX version of the codec can be found here that allows playback of the files. Note that some students have reported that VLC works much better on PCs, MacOSX and Linux.



This is a lab class. That means that almost everything you will learn will be by doing, and that doing will be in the labs. The Pre-Labs are serious, as they are there to ensure that you don't hurt yourselves, or damage the equipment. Make sure that you have understood what is going on, and use you colleagues for guidance. Expect to put in long hours doing the labs and even more in the project, but they will definitely be worth it in the end.

  1. Lab 0: The Roach (Event Driven Programming), Due 18-Jan-12 @ 5PM.
  2. Lab 1: OpAmps, Signal Conditioning, and Sensors, Due 25-Jan-12, 5PM.
  3. Lab 2: Mechanical Prototyping, Due 01-Feb-12 @ 5PM.
  4. Lab 3: DC and Stepper Motors, Due 09-Feb-12 @ 5PM.
  5. Final Project: Slugs of the Caribbean, Public Demo on 14-Mar-12, 6:30PM, Location: Baskin 101 Auditorium


Quizzes will be given out at least once a week at the beginning of class. These will be based entirely on the reading material that should have been completed before coming to class. Occasional homework assignments will be handed out or assigned during lecture to complete a series of short exercises. Cooperation and collaboration on the labs and homework is encouraged, but this is NOT licence to copy. The work you turn in should be your own.


Class Presentation Slides

The class lectures use the digital ink capabilities of the TabletPC. The ink is saved back into the presentation, and the presentation is saved to the website for convenience. This year we are using Classroom Presenter rather than PowerPoint. It apprears to be far more stable, and has several nice utilities for the TabletPC. The presentation files are in the .CP3 format, and you will need to download Presenter to view them (download v3.1). Presenter can be downloaded free from here

  1. Lecture #0: Introduction to Mechatronics 10-Jan-2012
  2. Lecture #1-2: Microcontrollers and Bit-Banging 12-Jan-2012
  3. Lecture #2-3: Sensors 17-Jan-2012
  4. Lecture #4-5: Filtering 24-Jan-2012
  5. Lecture #6: Real OpAmps 26-Jan-2012
  6. Lecture #7: Statics 31-Jan-2012
  7. Lecture #7: Mechanical CAD 31-Jan-2012
  8. Lecture #8: Digital I/O 02-Feb-2012
  9. Lecture #9: Solenoids and DC Motors 07-Feb-2012
  10. 9_Steppers_marked.cp3: Stepper Motors 09-Feb-2012
  11. PDR_marked.cp3: Preliminary Design Review 14-Feb-2012
  12. 10_Mechanical_marked.cp3: Mechanical Elements 21-Feb-2012
  13. 11_Project_marked.cp3: Project Management 23-Feb-2012
  14. 12_ModularC_marked.cp3: Modular C 23-Feb-2012
  15. 13_Noise_marked.cp3: Noise 28-Feb-2012
  16. StateMachine.c: StateMachines 03-Mar-2012
  17. 14_Timers_marked.cp3: Timers and ADC 06-Mar-2012

  18. Lecture PDR: Preliminary Design Review, 14-Feb-2012

  19. Basic Circuits: Supplementary Lecture, Pats I and II.
  20. Basic Semiconductors: Supplementary Lecture, Part III.
  21. Basic OpAmps: Supplementary Lecture, Part IV.
  22. Midterm Review: 09-Feb-2012.

General Class Information

Lecture times:
Tuesday-Thursday, 2:00 - 3:45 PM, Jack Baskin Engineering #372
Associated Lab:
Jack Baskin Engineering, 115, TA times MWF: 2-4PM, T-Th 4-6PM
[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)
[Gonick]: The Cartoon Guide to Computer Science, Gonick, Barnes and Noble Books, 1983, (Optional, online: part 1, part 2, part 3)
Name: Gabriel Hugh Elkaim (
Phone: 831-459-3054
Office: Engineering 2, 337B
Instructor Office Hours:
T-Th, 12:00 - 2:00 PM, and by appointment
Teaching Assistant(s):
Name: Max Dunne (
Name: Ryan Conway (
Name: Peter Murphy (
Name: David Oda (
Phone: (831) 459-2140
Office: E2-316
Lab Hours:
24/7, TA times MWF: 2-4PM, T-Th: 4-6PM.