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The Northwestern University mechatronics design wiki provides reference material on the theory and applications of electronics, sensors, actuators, etc., for use in mechatronics-related research and projects. Practical applications often refer to equipment and supplies available in the Northwestern Mechatronics Design Lab.

The mechatronics wiki was initiated by undergraduate Ben Stephens in 2006, under the supervision of Profs. Kevin Lynch and Michael Peshkin. Since then, many students have contributed content.

Important: Please be sure to read the Rules for Using the Mechatronics Design Lab.


Design Competition 2008

Wiki pages on sensors, actuators, programming, and microcontrollers: use pages below

Sensors and actuators for DC

Prof. Peshkin's favorite datasheets

PIC 18F4520 prototyping board

Programming with CCS C

Interfacing and skeleton code for the PIC 18F4520

These topics have wiki pages and sample code available
Link to all sample code here.

These topics have sample code available, but no wiki pages yet
Link to all sample code here.

  • Counter0 - Counting pulses with Timer0]
  • Counter1 - Counting pulses with Timer1]
  • Interrupt0 - Periodic servo cycles using interrupt routines, 10mS & slower; Timer 0]
  • Interrupt2 - Periodic servo cycles using interrupt routines; 10mS & faster; Timer 2]
  • InterruptExternal - Interrupts generated by an external pulse]

These topics need more development
Link to all sample code here.

  • AnalogOutputParallel - Analog output using 8 digital lines]
  • PIC-to-PIC communication
  • Zigbee radio communication
  • Modulated IR communication
  • Strobing LEDs or IREDs for better range and immunity to background light
  • I2C communication
  • CAN bus
  • Capturing data to Matlab
  • Running stepper motors

PIC Microcontrollers

e-puck Mobile Robot

Printing Circuit Boards


Analog and Digital chips



Mechanical Design

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Failure Theories
    • Static Loading
    • Variable Loading and Fatigue
  • Attaching to a shaft
  • Support
  • Transmission
    • Rigid: Gears
    • Flexible: Belts, Chains
    • Motion Connection/Separation: Clutches, Brakes, Couplings
  • Linkages
    • Serial Chains
    • Parallel and Closed-Loop Chains
  • Other: springs/dampers, cams, etc.

The PC/104 Stack

xPC Target Real-Time Operating System

QNX Real-Time Operating System

Lab Supplies and Data Sheets

Vendors and Useful Links

Other Software

Other Lab Equipment

Course Material


Personal tools