Benjamin Finio is a lecturer in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University, where he teaches MAE 3780: Mechatronics. Dr. Finio has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Bucknell University and a Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University, where he completed his thesis on the “Robobee” project in the Harvard Microrobotics Lab. He has experience teaching students of all ages, both online and in person, as well as designing electronics and robotics kits for both K-12 and college-level curricula. In addition to teaching at Cornell, Dr. Finio works for a science education website (Science Buddies), where he has written for Scientific American and made educational YouTube videos that have been viewed millions of times by people around the globe.
Designing and Building Your Own
Mechatronic DeviceCornell Course
In this course, you will synthesize everything you have learned so far to design and build a mechatronic system of your choice. You will need to apply what you have learned about circuits, microcontrollers, sensors, and actuators to build a device that reacts to the user or its physical environment somehow. You will need to apply your design, problem solving, and debugging skills to iterate and improve upon your project. Finally, you will document your project – you will provide technical documentation including commented code, circuit diagrams, and assembly instructions, and a video that shows off your final design. You are welcome and encouraged to add these materials to your professional portfolio or show them off outside of this course.
This program requires the purchase of a kit of electronic components and microcontrollers at a cost of around $550.
You are required to have completed the following courses or have equivalent experience before taking this course:
- Building and Analyzing a Basic Circuit
- Building and Measuring a Time-Varying Circuit
- Programming a Microcontroller
- Using and Controlling Motors
- Collecting Data with Sensors
Key Course Takeaways
- Write a design pitch for a prototype that performs a home or office task
- Build a fully functioning prototype to do a home or office task
- Submit final documentation of your prototype
How It Works
Who Should Enroll
- Engineers (mechanical, software, civil, systems, chemical, biomedical)
- Robotics and automation technicians
- Programmers and computer scientists
- Technology researchers
- High school teachers