- Course: Mechatronics and Robotics MEng, BSc
- Nationality: Cypriot
Why did you decide to study at the University of Leeds?
University of Leeds is one of the few universities in the UK that does a combined electronics and mechanical course and does it well. Mechatronics and robotics deal with the implementation of mechanical systems with embedded electronics. At University of Leeds, there is a good balance between the weight put into the teaching of both mechanical and electrical and programming aspects of engineering in such a way that by the end of the course you would be able to build any kind of robotic system from scratch. The limits are endless, Mechatronics is the future of engineering.
What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University and why?
At the faculty of engineering, there is a great deal of importance put into the practical work along with the usual academic work. The teaching is not limited to lecture theatres and exams, but also labs and project-based learning which lifts the weight of one big traditional exam and provides a more realistic depiction of the industry. The labs are filled to the brim with equipment and tools, every student gets their fair share of lab time.
Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far?
One of our electronics modules deals with digital microcontrollers in which we learn to program an embed board to make a videogame. What sets learning to code on a microcontroller apart with learning to code in a software-based course is that you get to learn how electronics are involved in coding rather than surface level coding which gives a better understanding of how the code interacts with the circuitry.
On one of our mechanical modules, we are given a problem which we have to design our solution in Solidworks. We then get to use the prototype lab to build our design with the wide range of tools provided. This module deals with the mechanical aspects involved in problem-solving and fundamentals of manufacturing processes. In one of the cases, the problem we were given was a colonoscopy tool where an arm with a magnetic tip guides a metal ball put inside the colon and the ball is guided outside of the body. We got the chance to model our arm in Solidworks, 3D-print our model at the printers found in the school of mechanical, and code the algorithm for the arm movement in Labview.
For my third-year project, I have made a wrist training device as an extension to the myPAM project used in the rehabilitation of stroke patients. The device adds an extra 2 degrees of freedom to myPAM capable of training the pronation and flexion angles of the wrist. The project consists of the mechanical design of the manufactured, 3D-printed and laser cut parts, the electronic design and the programming of the microcontroller and a unity game to have a visual representation of the movement of the device to go along with it. The main motive behind the focus on training the wrist is the fact that the human brain works in patterns. Rehabilitation works by re-firing already existing neuronal pathways and to achieve full upper-body recovery, the arm needs to be trained as a whole. There is a great variety of projects available at the faculty and this is only one of them.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I see the future of mechatronics in the implementation of biological systems into robotics and implementation of robotics back into the living. I believe that nature has the perfect solution to a lot of systems through millions of years of evolution and we should get inspired by nature more to build our own systems to improve efficiency and for a better future.
What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?
Today the engineering industry needs Mechatronics more than ever. In the Automotive sector, an average car is controlled by thousands of microcontrollers containing millions of lines of codes. Mechatronics and robotics also provide a wide range of specialisation choices such as robotics in medical equipment, prosthetic limbs and cybernetics, Artificial Intelligence and autonomous systems, along with the standard set of specialisation options in electronic engineering and mechanical engineering. This results in a highly employable course since, by the end of the course, you will be able to do any job done by an electrical engineer, a mechanical engineer and both. This is one of the reasons for the course having a high employability rate, the other being the employability suite dedicated to engineering students here at University of Leeds who are helping students build their CV and also provide internship and placement opportunities from the industry and partnerships.
What would you say to students coming to do the same course?
If you are interested in both Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and programming, there is no better mixture of modules than this course.