Mechatronics and Physical AI

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Specialise in developing the backbone of a robot—its hardware—enabling it to move and interact with people and its environment.

What differentiates an autonomous robot from a machine? It is the mechanical parts, sensors, circuits, and algorithms that enable it to move around and make decisions. There is an intricate interplay between hardware and AI that allows a robot to sense, process information, and act on its environment. How can you construct a surgical robot that works with the utmost precision? What about developing a drone equipped with sensors to assess water quality or track air pollution? Or think of industrial robots on assembly lines. How can you ensure they are able to perform tasks like welding and packaging with maximum speed and accuracy? This is the impact you can have if you choose the specialisation in Mechatronics & Physical AI.

At its core, a robot is a physical entity interacting with its environment. Regardless of the intelligence embedded within a robot's design, it must adhere to the fundamental principles of physics and mechanics. In the specialisation in Mechatronics & Physical AI, you will examine robots’ physical characteristics and control mechanisms.

Dr. Federico Califano, programme mentor Mechatronics & Physical AI

What is Mechatronics & Physical AI?

The focus of the specialisation is on the physical characteristics of robots and their control mechanisms. How does a robot function as a physical system—how does it move, operate, and interact with a dynamic environment safely and effectively? Moreover, how can you integrate its physical attributes into the development of an intelligent control system? This requires delving into different disciplines, such as mechatronics, control theory, and computing. You will learn to address challenges related to modelling and simulating designs, physical prototyping, and the development of controllers.

Examples of courses you will follow within this specialisation:
  • Learn to model, control, and analyse complex 3D systems like manipulators, walking machines, and flying robots in the course Modelling, Dynamics, and Kinematics
  • How can you design precise and agile mechanisms with respect to stiffness, constraints, and flexure elements? Find out in the course Design Principles for Robotics and Mechatronic Mechanisms.
  • Are you interested in drones? In the elective course Control for UAVs, you will learn about their dynamics, control, and different components.

What will you learn?

  • Knowledge

    After completing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • have a solid knowledge of mechatronics, control, and computing;
    • know how to integrate your knowledge of mechatronics with systems engineering, intelligent design, and machine learning;
    • have a thorough understanding of what an intelligent, effective, and safe interaction between a robotic system and its environment is.
  • Skills

    After successfully finishing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • can model and analyse the physical behaviour of robotic systems;
    • can test and design robot embodiments, control algorithms, and robot software;
    • can use and integrate knowledge from the other specialisations.
  • Values

    After completing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • understand the ethical implications of AI and robotics;
    • collaborate with experts in fields like engineering, computer science, or AI to solve complex problems;
    • create robots that positively impact society and improve the quality of life of people.

Other specialisations

Is this specialisation not exactly what you are looking for? Maybe one of the other specialisations suits you better. You can also find out more about related master’s at the University of Twente:

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