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Innovations in Motion Control Design

It certainly isn’t news that I think Mechatronics is a pretty cool field of study. Whether you design and build mechatronic systems for your profession or your hobby (or maybe both), you have to admit it’s a fascinating subject. As I write this, I’m waiting anxiously for FedEx (or perhaps UPS) to deliver my latest toy – a 2006 Mini Cooper S remote control (RC) car kit. I’ve owned several RC cars over the years, but never one that came in a kit that I had to assemble from a box full of parts. I’ve wanted to dive deep into remote control car technology since I drove my first RC truck several years ago, but haven’t had enough time to devote to a new interest. I probably wouldn’t be taking the time now, but on a recent whim I requested the Mini Cooper kit for my birthday. Now I have to get started, or my wife will tease (translated: nag) me about wanting a present then not using it – but there isn’t much danger of that happening. I’m already planning upgrades: motor, battery pack, tires, electronic speed control. This is going to be fun.

On a Mechatronics design related note, I recently listened-in on a web seminar given by John Vargas, one of my Mentor Graphics colleagues. John has over two decades of experience in electrical, software, and systems engineering, and he currently works as a product specialist and systems architect, helping customers understand and use our SystemVision family of tools.

John’s seminar is titled “Latest Innovations in Virtual Prototyping for Complex Motion Control Systems”, which was recorded and is available on our website. He gives a brief introduction to SystemVision and where it fits in a complex system design and verification flow, then jumps right into developing a motor control system from scratch. During the demonstration, John shows and explains the benefits of starting with a high level, generic description of a system just to get the basics running, then adding progressively more detail to fine-tune system performance. Along the way he talks about creating virtual prototypes, modeling, simulation, waveform analysis, integrating hardware and software development in a single environment, and accelerating test program development using virtual prototypes as a test development platform. Click here to get a more detailed description of John’s seminar, including a link to the recorded video. It takes just over an hour to watch the entire seminar, so maybe grab your lunch and a soda and sit back for some very interesting lunchtime entertainment. Or watch it in several smaller segments, maybe while you’re taking a break or waiting for your computer to do the number crunching on your latest design. I think you’ll find John’s seminar to be well worth your while. And stay tuned for pictures of my new Mini Cooper – I can hardly wait!

motion control, Mechatronics

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About Mike Jensen

Mike JensenMost career paths rooted in high technology take many interesting (and often rewarding) twists and turns. Mine has certainly done just that. After graduating in electrical engineering from the University of Utah (go Utes!), I set off to explore the exciting, multi-faceted high tech industry. My career path since has wound its way from aircraft systems engineering for the United States Air Force, to over two decades in applications engineering and technical marketing for leading design automation software companies, working exclusively with mechatronic system modeling and analysis tools. Along the way, I’ve worked with customers in a broad range of industries and technologies including transportation, communications, automotive, aerospace, semiconductor, computers, and consumer electronics; all-in-all a very interesting, rewarding, and challenging ride. In my current gig, I work on technical marketing projects for Mentor Graphics' SystemVision product line. And in my spare time I dream up gadgets and gizmos, some even big enough to qualify as systems, that I hope someday to build -- providing I can find yet a little more of that increasingly elusive spare time. Visit Mike Jensen's Blog

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