The increasing complexity of society is transforming the ways in which we perceive, use, and are affected by technology. Technology is becoming more than just an enabler to enhance human life. Increasingly, technology nestles in people and among people, has knowledge about people, and can more and more act as part of people.
The Mechatronic Design Group (MDG) is engaged in innovating and transforming technologies to the context of design engineering as an essential part of research, education and valorisation activities. This requires an emphasis on fundamental techniques for elevating the efficiency and the reliability of new modelling methods and digital design for products and services.
MDG focuses on improving knowledge, methods and processes on the advancement of technologies, autonomous and connected products for sustainable well-being, and the improvement of user productivity. Emerging technologies – including mechanics, electronics, photonics, sensors, actuators, digital measurement and control systems, and embedded software – are explored and integrated in order to achieve the simplest technological architecture and the most reliable forms of manufacturing. Mechatronics enables us to optimize a product’s behavior in terms of its learning ability (smart, adaptive, intelligent), usability (convenient), and reliability (trust, robust). Research in Mechatronics will aim to achieve an optimal architecture of functionalities for products (systems). Facilitated by the user-centered design method, this approach may bridge the gap between technology push and the needs of the users and the market. Key research areas will include the use of robotics, 3D scanning, 3D image processing and 3D printing technologies with the integration of embedded electronics, sensors and actuators. Application areas are smart printing systems, reproduction techniques for fine art and medical real time imaging.
In order to achieve an optimal architecture of functionalities for products (systems), it is also necessary to make the design engineering process more flexible and responsive. Therefore the ability of rapid prototyping, adapting and learning during the design process is also essential for mechatronics product design.
In short, at the department of Design Engineering, we should be focusing on those technologies that make the design process more responsive and adaptive. We need to investigate the elements that actively interact with the context in such a way that feedback and feed-forward loops can be seamlessly embedded in the design and production process to reach an optimal interaction between the designer and the engineering process. We need to embrace flexibility, which enables freedom of thinking, architecture, material, form and function. In short: we need a flexible design process.
The MDG is responsible for integrating knowledge regarding mechanics, electronics, software, and needed advanced manufacturing knowledge to the curriculum of the BSc and MSc programme of industrial design engineering. Typical research/graduation topics within the MDG are at this moment:
- Ultra-personalized products, based on 3D scanning, modelling, and digital manufacturing;
- Medical product (software) design regarding the use of multi-modality medical images, which includes image acquisition, reasoning, processing and application;
- Integrating digital materials, multi-materials, 4D printing, embedded electronics and Micro Electromechanical Systems (MEMs) in the prototyping and manufacturing process;
- 3D reproduction of heritage objects by integrating multi-model 3D scans and 3D printing techniques;
- Improvement of modelling, simulation, prototyping, and manufacturing practice infused by emerging “maker” tools.
MDG aims to generate/improve/develop demonstrators to show and discuss our research. We use an integrated approach by connecting the different research areas of the DE department, i.e. mechatronics, emerging materials, IoT and CPS and Advanced Manufacturing. Furthermore, an active collaboration with other TU Delft Faculties (e.g. 3ME,Architecture, and Computer Science) is essential. The group aims to extend its international reputation on topics mentioned above as well.