Faculty Publish New Mechatronics Textbook

Based on the ME 333 curriculum, the book is augmented by instructional videos

Northwestern Engineering’s Kevin Lynch has taken mechatronics out of the lab and put it into the library.

Last December, the Newnes publishing group (an imprint of Elsevier) released Embedded Computing and Mechatronics with the PIC32 Microcontroller, a new textbook written by Lynch, chair and professor of mechanical engineering, lecturer Nick Marchuk, and PhD student Matt Elwin.

Kevin LynchInspired by his love for robotics and interest in microprocessors, Lynch developed the elective course ME 333: Introduction to Mechatronics in 1999. As the course evolved over the years to include new knowledge and lab exercises, he could not find a textbook that could keep up. So Lynch and his team decided to write their own.

Based on the curriculum in ME 333, the new textbook covers fundamental topics in mechatronics, such as circuits, sensors, signal processing, motors, and feedback control. It also explores the hardware and software of the PIC32 microcontroller and its applications in mechatronics, including the development of microprocessor-controlled electromechanical systems with sensors and actuators.

“No existing book has the depth and breadth of coverage appropriate for our courses,” Lynch said. “This new book takes advantage of developments from ME 333 over the past several years as well as the entire mechatronics ecosystem established here with Michael Peshkin and Nick Marchuk.”

The book uses three assets developed at Northwestern: the NU32 microcontroller development board, the nScope portable oscilloscope and function generator, and the Northwestern Lightboard, which was used to create 80 instructional short videos available on YouTube to augment the written material.

“The flipped classroom and portable electronics equipment allow students to work on projects during lecture hours and outside of the lab,” Lynch said.