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MEC3905 Mechatronic Practice

Semester 2, 2021 External
Short Description: Mechatronic Practice
Units : 0
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 030799 - Mechanical, Industrial Enginee
Grading basis : Pass/Not Pass
Version produced : 17 October 2021


Examiner: Craig Lobsey


In mechatronics, mechanical, electrical and computing elements are combined to form an integrated whole. A mechatronic engineer should be comfortable with the selection and integration of appropriate elements in a mechatronic system. A mechatronic engineer is also required to optimise the performance of a system by understanding its dynamics and applying feedback control. This course will equip the mechatronic student with the ingenuity, versatility and flexibility required for mechatronic practice and round off the formation of a mechatronics engineer. This key capstone course in the mechatronics major will draw from a number of engineering disciplines in order to solve a multi-faceted engineering problem/task.


This course draws together mechanical, electrical, software and interfacing aspects of a mechatronic system through a progressive sequence of design and control experiments. Students will create and analyse a series of hands-on design experiments. A motor is connected to a computer through a power amplifier, while another motor in tandem is monitored through an analogue interface to determine its speed. A line or two of code makes speed control possible. A belt drives a 'trolley' of which the position is monitored and some more effort including some nonlinear strategies results in a 'crisp' position controller of an industrial standard. An inverted pendulum is added to the trolley and the student devises a control scheme to keep it balanced. Several other brief experiments give familiarity with pneumatic positioning and vision interfacing.

This course contains a mandatory residential school.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. devise or select sensors for measuring the motion of a dynamic system;
  2. describe and be familiar with the operation of an analogue interface;
  3. select sensors for system control and interface them;
  4. understand and write programs for the application of on-line digital control;
  5. analyse a dynamic system in terms of discrete time equations;
  6. devise and apply on-line control algorithms and test them.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Analogue to digital interfacing 20.00
2. Computer controlled velocity 20.00
3. Nonlinear computer position control 20.00
4. Computer control of an inverted pendulum 20.00
5. Familiarisation with pneumatic control and computer-vision control systems. (See web notes for further details for all topics listed.) 20.00

Text and Materials

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference Materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Billingsley, J 2006, Essentials of mechatronics, Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.
MEC4406 Robotics and machine vision: web-mounted study package, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba.

Student Workload Expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 10.00
Residential Schools 40.00

Assessment Details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives Assessed Notes
REPORT 1 99 08 Oct 2021 1,2,3,4,5,6 (see note 1)
Res School/Lab Participation 1 1 08 Oct 2021 1,2,3,4,5,6 (see note 2)

  1. The brief report is to be uploaded as a Word file to a Study Desk assignment.
  2. The dates and location of the mandatory residential school are available from the Residential School Timetable (

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Students must attend the mandatory residential school. It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course before they are able to undertake any practical work in the electrical laboratories.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete each assessment item students must achieve a mark of 1 out of 1 for that assessment item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade students must attend and participate in the mandatory residential school and achieve a mark of 1 out of 1 for each assessment item.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    As P is the only passing grade available for this course, all students who are qualified for a passing grade, under the requirements in 4 above, will be given a grade of P. Other students will be given either a Failing grade or an Incomplete grade.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Deferred and Supplementary examinations will be held in accordance with the Assessment Procedure

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment Notes

  1. Students must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. Referencing in Assignments must comply with the Harvard (AGPS) referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (APGS) style to be used is defined by the USQ library’s referencing guide. These policies can be found at

  3. As part of the mandatory residential school, students may be expected to undertake a combination of lectures, tutorials, laboratories, practical classes and assessment as advised by the course examiner.

Date printed 17 October 2021