Robotics and Mechatronics

This specialization is the continuation of the MSc programme Mechatronics. The research is more and more in the field of advanced robotics, including robotics in medical applications.

Mechatronics involves a synergistic combination of mechanical engineering, electronics and measurement and control in the design of products and processes. It focuses on Mechatronic Design that can be defined as: the integrated and optimal design of a mechanical system and its embedded control system.

By means of an integrated design of the mechanical parts and the measurement and control system, realised in electronic circuits or as an embedded computer programme, mechanical constructions can get a superior performance, lower price and can become more flexible. Well known examples are the audio CD-player and its successors the CD-ROM and DVD as well as many automotive applications, robots, advanced production machines and so on.

To present a coherent package of courses and lab works, this wide application area inevitably means that the programme will consist of specializations in one application area; the possibility to tailor the programme to individual needs is kept open.

Programme mentor

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System and Control Theory

Control problems have been around for a long time. With the rise of automated manufacturing in the nineteenth century, control mechanisms gained in importance. Watt's fly-ball governor, a device that controls the steam pressure, meant a breakthrough and directly contributed to the industrial revolution. Up to this day the manufacturing of servo mechanisms plays an important part in mechanical engineering (e.g. in robot technology.) Within the electrical engineering community the need for a theoretical underpinning of the behavior of interconnected components arose through questions like: how may we mathematically model a (complicated) electrical circuit, and conversely, given a mathematical model, how may we implement it as an electrical device. Once mathematically formulated, it was found that the above problems of mechanical en electrical engineering had much in common and that in fact they belong to a single area, an area that nowadays is called ‘systems and control’. The mathematics of systems and control involve analytical as well as algebraic notions, possibly because "change over time" and "relation between quantities" both are central in systems and control problems.

Programme mentor

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Biomechatronics is the interdisciplinary study of biology, mechanics, and electronics. It focuses on the research and design of assistive, therapeutic and diagnostic devices to compensate (partially) for the loss of human physiological functions or to enhance these functions.

A thorough knowledge of the human healthy and eventually impaired physiology is required to optimally design biomechatronic devices. In particular, biophysical models of muscles, joints, central nervous system and sensors, and human motion control are very helpful for analysis and innovative designs. Also knowledge and skills in mechanical engineering, control engineering, system identification, and signal processing are required to realize devices that improve the quality of life of humans. Example of such devices are deep brain stimulators to suppress the symptoms of Parkinson disease, rehabilitation robotics to enhance neuro-rehabilitation of stroke survivors, wearable exoskeletons for humans that are unable to control their muscles (e.g. Spinal cord injured patients or Duchenne patients), prosthesis, brain computer interfaces, or support of cardiovascular and pulmonary function in the intensive care.

As a student, you will be able to tailor the program to address your own individual interests and needs.

Programme mentor

Website of participating group