Kevin Craig, Marquette University
The self-balancing, two-wheeled transporter is a marvel of mechatronics engineering. Over the past decade it has been commercialized for both human and robotic motion. It has also been used in academia mainly for senior- and graduate-level projects, but it has the potential to be used throughout the undergraduate engineering curriculum to illustrate how practicing engineers conceive, model, simulate, control, and virtually prototype every system before construction. The key is to uncover the fundamental engineering principles and the integration required through Model-Based Design to create such a multidisciplinary system. This presentation describes a self-balancing transporter designed and built with the most basic, low-cost engineering components to facilitate understanding of fundamental engineering principles on which all such systems are based. More importantly, it describes the mechatronic system design process used to accomplish this goal. MATLAB, Simulink, and the inexpensive, open-source, single-board Arduino microcontroller are used for encoder decoding, for balancing and steering control, and for radio-frequency communication. Human-centered Model-Based Design is the future of modern engineering practice, and engineering education must reflect that in the context of real-world problem solving. This engineering platform, together with Simulink programming and automatic code generation, enable this to happen now.
Recorded: 20 Mar 2013