NYU Tandon School of Engineering Launches Rare Mechatronics Master Degree Program

The Multidisciplinary Field Helps Revive the Manufacturing Economy, Offers Applications in the Automation, Defense, Internet of Things, Medical, and Robotics Sectors

Student working on robotics project

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering this week launches a master’s of science degree program in mechatronics and robotics, a multidisciplinary field that represents a growth industry with high demand for qualified graduates.

Mechatronics combines mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, informatics, and sensors with computer control throughout the entire design process, with the goal of creating products that operate with high precision and produce superior performance. The word was first coined by Japanese engineers in the 1960s, and since then, mechatronic engineers have made enormous contributions to the automotive industry (anti-lock brakes, hybrid powertrains), the medical field (robotic surgical tools), military defense (motion-controlled sighting systems), and numerous other areas.

Because they work on developing products and systems that are essentially mechanical but that cannot operate optimally without electrical and computer controls, mechatronics engineers must have a deep understanding of mechanics, electronics, computer science, and more.

The new master’s program in Mechatronics and Robotics was developed by members of the NYU Tandon Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, including Professor Vikram Kapila, who anticipates that it will ultimately award some 40 master’s degrees each year.

“In a global, competitive marketplace, there is an acute need to train tomorrow’s workforce in a cooperative environment that attracts students with diverse educational backgrounds,” Kapila said. “Additionally, robotics is a particularly good platform upon which our students can construct lasting entrepreneurial ventures because it is still a relatively nascent technology that has the potential to resuscitate U.S. manufacturing.”

Business Insider on growth in robots:

“This is a surging market: The multibillion-dollar global market for robotics, long dominated by industrial and logistics uses, has begun to see a shift toward new consumer and office applications. There will be a $1.5 billion market for consumer and business robots by 2019.”

The rise in autonomous robots, from delivery drones to self-driving vehicles, will drive demand for mechatronics experts, with their cross-functional knowledge and approach.

While graduate mechatronics programs are more commonly offered in such countries as Australia, Germany, and Canada, the NYU Tandon School of Engineering is among the very few American institutions to do so.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of a field that is revolutionizing so many important industries,” said Dean Katepalli R. Sreenivasan. “Our new degree program modernizes our curricula offerings, is highly relevant to students’ interest, and addresses workforce demands for graduates who have broad interdisciplinary expertise and thinking.”

In addition to Kapila, core faculty members who will be participating in the program include Joo H. Kim, who has achieved recognition for custom fitted robotic exoskeletons of great use to soldiers, industrial workers, and disabled people, and Maurizio Porfiri, who was deemed one of the nation’s most brilliant young scientists by the editors of Popular Science for his work on bio-mimetic robots. Sanghoon Lee brings his more than six years of industry experience to the new program. The faculty have extensive background in a number of areas including rehabilitation and assistive robotics, aquatic robotics, biologically inspired robotics, legged locomotion, human-robot interaction, automation, embedded and mobile computing, and cybersecurity for the Internet of Things.

For more information or to register for the fall semester, visit http://engineering.nyu.edu/academics/programs/mechatronics-robotics-ms.

An informational webinar will be offered on Thursday, February 4, 2016, at 5 p.m. To register for the event, visit http://engineering.nyu.edu/events/2016/02/04/ms-mechatronics-robotics-info-session.

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, when the NYU School of Civil Engineering and Architecture as well as the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly) were founded. Their successor institutions merged in January 2014 to create a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition to programs at its main campus in downtown Brooklyn, it is closely connected to engineering programs in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, and it operates business incubators in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. For more information, visit http://engineering.nyu.edu.