2014 Event Coordinator

Professor Wayne Whitfield, Fitchburg State University


  • For 2015, there are currently no plans to have the mechatronics competition. The Robotics competition will have a mechatronics component.


Mechatronics is a blend of multiple technology and engineering disciplines. Mechatronics typically involves a combination of electrical, mechanical, and control engineering but frequently includes other fields in technology and engineering as well. The purpose of the mechatronics challenge is to provide a means for teams of TEECA members to demonstrate their ability to formulate a problem, design and build a solution to that problem in the areas of mechatronics.


You, and your team-mates, have a Summer internship with the U.S. Park Service. Your team is part of a four team group tasked with providing water to a group of bison that must be relocated for a Summer season. Your group is required to design, and eventually fabricate, a pumping system to take water from a lake and place it into containers for transport on animal drawn carts (designed and fabricated by another team). The third team is responsible for the design and fabrication of a device to lift your containers onto the cart, while the fourth team addresses the issue of getting the containers from the cart to the animal watering station. The entire process is complicated by the fact that regulations allow for the use of no fuel combustion engines in this particular park district. Therefore, all devices must be battery powered, and meet very specific operating parameters.

You will be provided the following:

  • 1 – battery powered water pump
  • 2 – 6.5 quart plastic containers
  • 1 – 3 foot piece of tubing with an inside diameter of 4mm
  • 1 – new 9 volt battery on the day of the competition
  • 1 – 9 volt battery power connector

Once started, your device must fill THREE containers, one after the other with no additional input from you. Each container will have a capacity between three and six fluid ounces (the specific amount will be provided to you on the day of the contest). Each team will have three attempts at getting their device to function successfully.

Your device will be judged on the following criteria:

Functionality of the device on the first attempt 30 points
Functionality on the second attempt (20 points)
Functionality on the third attempt (10 points)
Accuracy and uniformity of the three containers 30 points
Efficiency of the device (is water wasted) 10 points
Total time for the filling process (fastest preferred) 10 points
Workmanship and esthetics of the device 20 points

Each team should provide the following:

  • Structural material for the device
  • All electronics control devices
  • Construction tools and supplies
  • Sufficient 9 volts batteries to test your device during fabrication


Each team will be composed of 3 to 5 students who are members in good standing of a TEECA affiliated chapter. The team may not be composed of over 40% graduate students. Each team should identify one team member as the team leader.


1. Members of each team must be present at the designated time and location for the start of the contest.

2. Each team will receive contest details, supplies, and related materials necessary for the problem to be solved.

3. Each team will design and apply a solution to the problem by:

a. Brainstorming to develop a list of possible solution designs.

b. Identifying the best solution to the problem.

c. Configuring a design to solve the problem.

d. Testing/evaluating the design to solve the problem.

e. Demonstrating the solution to the problem.

4. Each team will be given an area and limited materials for the challenge.

5. Appropriate safety procedures must be followed during the contest. Safety glasses are required.

6. The corresponding design artifacts (problem statement, conceptual model, mathematical model, graphical model, and working model) will be turned in for evaluation at the end of the contest.

7. The solution for the Mechatronics problem must be completed and tested within the time announced for the activity.

8. Teams are responsible for cleaning up their area at the end of the contest.


Judges will evaluate:

  • the design process
  • the modeling artifacts      (conceptual, mathematical, graphical, and working models)
  • originality
  • feasibility
  • safety


Limited items will be provided by the challenge coordinator including:

  • Small DC water pump
  • Tubing
  • Bins
  • Water

Teams are expected to bring the following:

  • General tools/materials needed for constructing models (scissors, box cutting knives,
  • X-acto® knives, hot glue gun, small screwdrivers, pliers, rulers, hammers, abrasive paper, etc.).
  • General electrical tools (various types of wire, soldering iron, solder, flux, wire cutters/strippers, electrical tape, IC pullers, etc.).
  • A working breadboard, controller, and electrical components which may be needed for your design.
  • Any useful reference materials for controls/circuits (analog or digital) including books, notes, etc.
  • An Internet ready device. (WiFi will not necessarily be provided in the challenge room, but you are welcome to use any Internet resources available to you.)