Question: I want to go into engineering but am a little doubtful about which branch of engineering I take. I was hoping you could help me. I would like to go into a field that allows me to build and experiment but mostly mechanical stuff, so that I can build machines (not big ones) and will also be able to design its software. For example, if I were to build a robot (a very simple one) I would like to know how to control it, how to input into it or a remote that controls it to go forward or backward. I was thinking mechatronics. Is that a suitable field for me?
by Atiqa, UAE
on March 30, 2012
For things that move you are definitely into mechanical engineering. Even the controls and the software can be considered mechanical engineering. You won't need to specialize in something else as well as mechanical engineering in order to complete or control your machine. Just stay on track with ME.
At the same time, think big. Don't cut yourself short by focusing too narrowly on robots. In a very short time, robots may be mass produced, throw-away products. Then what?
Stay with Mechanical Engineering, specializing in Machine Design and specializing one step beyond, if you want----but don't get too narrow in your focus. The principles are the same for huge machines or nano machines.
The very best of luck with your career. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have (going on 50 years)
What an exciting thing to want to get involved in. It sounds like mechanical engineering is what you might want to go into or, depending on the school, possibly electrical engineering. You should investigate the schools you are interested in and see what types of courses they have. If you are more interested in the control of things through programming you might consider electrical and computer engineering. This would help you understand the capabilities and limitations of microprocessors and the robots they might control. Many electrical engineering build robots for design projects, but mechanical classes do too. The mechanical engineering focuses more on what you call building things by hand and modeling real objects. Both have a strong level of math and signal processing necessary. I suspect if you start looking at schools and seeing what they have to offer (don’t for get to ask about after school clubs) you will make the right decision for yourself. However it is not written in stone that you must stay in the same course all four years. Plus you could possibly do an EE degree for a B.S.E.E. and a Mechanical Engineering for a Masters or PhD. Please feel free to write again.