Most innovations happen at the intersections of disciplines. New products get designed through synergistic integration of multi-disciplinary concepts. For example, in today’s automobiles purely mechanical systems have been replaced by “by-wire” devices that are software controlled, lighter, more efficient, and reliable. While engineering disciplines are merging seamlessly in real world products, academic silos are mostly still intact. At University of Detroit Mercy, we have broken down some silos by launching the Robotics and Mechatronics Systems Engineering major. Mechatronic Systems Modeling is a mandatory course in this major. This course uses a technique of power flow called bond graphs to model mechatronic systems. This technique is not discipline specific and students with different disciplinary background can easily understand and master it. Recently, the use of Simscape, a MATLAB/Simulink tool for physical system modeling has also been added to this course. The use of these two tools in complex system modeling tasks helps students develop an understanding of engineering system behavior by moving beyond the narrow boundaries of individual disciplines. This paper describes the course content and structure, the modeling methods, selected student projects, some of the lessons learned, and several offshoot activities that have resulted from this course.

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