The University of Southampton

FPProvisional000008 ELEC3 - USMC 3217 Mechatronic System Design Exercise

Module Overview

This module aims to introduce students to a range of electrical, electronic and mechanical devices and from this to provide an opportunity for then to explore the design process, to make mistakes and learn from them in a benign environment. The design and devlopment of a mechatronic system will be at the herat of this module.

Conventional laboratory experiments are useful mainly to assist understanding or analysis: because they are of necessity stereotyped; they are of limited usefulness when a circuit or system must be designed to meet a given specification.  The majority of engineering tasks fall into this latter category, and therefore require design or synthesis skills that are distinct from the understanding of underlying engineering principles.  This is additional to the analysis skills emphasized in the course so far.  This module includes design assignments that have been devised to provide a bridge between 'conventional' experiments and the project work in the third and fourth years, (which in turn provide a bridge to 'real' projects in industry).  The exercises have real deadlines and concrete deliverables and students are encouraged to be creative, develop imaginative solutions and to make mistakes.


The assignments have a common format:

·         Customer orientated rather than proscriptive specifications are given

·         Design work carried out, bringing academic knowledge to bear on practical problems

·         Laboratory sessions are used for construction and verification of designs

·         Allow students to demonstrate their communication skills in writing individual and group reports.


The differences between the assignments are in:

·         Complexity

·         Size of team

·         Assessment credit

Aims & Objectives


Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Defining the specification of an artifact that needs to be designed, tested and commissioned. The design process and the processes involved in project management. The problems associated with designing practical circuits and systems.

Subject Specific Intellectual

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to:

  • Develop a plan for the implementation of the design and the undertake those activities. Analyse the design as it evolves, and deduce problems with the subsequent rectification. Undertake an evaluation of the complete design and prepare a critical proccess. Appreciate the problems in dealing with uncertain and possibly ambiguous specifications. Synthesise simple circuits and systems.

Transferable and Generic

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to:

  • Write formal reports in a clear, technical style. Address problems associated with personal and group time management in a problem solving environment. Demonstrate an awareness of team structure and dynamics, together with an appreciation of individual responsibilities working both as a pair and in a larger grouping.

Subject Specific Practical

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to:

  • Undertake small scale mechanical and electronic construction Undertake realtime and embedded programming. Undertake detailed faultfinding of the developed circuits if required. Demonstrate familiarity with the advanced use of function generators, oscilloscopes and complex devices such as logic analysers and spectrum analysers. Understand and interpret technical literature and data sheets.


  • The development of individual practical skills through completion of a simple build and test exercise, incorporating soldering, circuit construction, tand integration with a part mechanical which needs to be controled and 'smart'.
  • Groups of students are required to undertake a design, build and test project against a predefined specification. The project assessment includes a competitive trial, individual log books, group reports and quality assessment of the designed system.
  • The groups will have seminars on project management and principles of design to support the activities.
  • The specific design exercises will include the designed and development of a 'simple' Segway

Learning & Teaching

Learning & teaching methods

  • Specialist Lab - 63 hours per semester
  • Lecture - 10 hours per semester


Assessment methods

MethodHoursPercentage contribution
Report and demonstration -100%

Referral Method: There is no referral opportunity for this syllabus in same academic year

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