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25 Mar 2016

Studying Mechatronics As An Undergraduate Course In Nigeria – Interview

This is an interview with Ohasuonu Philip OpenSource, A Mechatronics student of Federal Polytechnic, Owerri.
Eduregard: May we meet you?
Me: My name is Ohasuonu Philip OpenSource. I am from Oguta LGA in Imo state. I’m a student of mechatronics at federal polytechnic nekede owerri.

Eduregard: What inspired you to take up the course?
Me:  Before ever I learnt of mechatronics engineering, I have been intrigued by systems incorporating various knowledge from different fields of engineering  into a single unit. On getting to know that there is an engineering discipline that caters for this area of study, I did not hesitate to apply.

Eduregard: Can you tell us about mechatronics engineering and what it is all about?
Me: Of course. Mechatronics engineering  is a discipline that is concerned with compatibility because it majorly focuses on integrating various  aspects from different engineering backgrounds notably mechanical engineering, electrical electronics and computer science. These systems so integrated must be in harmony with one another for anything meaningful to come out of their integration. Mechatronics can equally be seen as the junction between hardware and software.
Eduregard: What are the principal terms used in mechatronics?
Me: In mechatronics, there are many terms used. Some of them are;
Embedded systems
Sensors and Actuators
Logic and Data Acquisition systems
Machine vision
Servo mechanism
Mobile Apps
Automotive electronics
Fuzzy logic and Neural systems
Artificial intelligence
Human machine interface
Programming et al
Eduregard: How can mechatronics help the technology sector in Nigeria?
Me: First of all, we need to begin from our schools. If you look  at our higher institutions today there are no serious research going on. But has come when we no longer rely on the government to do this or that for us. With the advent of mechatronics, students and graduates can build products that is robust and rugged enough for the Nigerian consumer. Why am saying this is because the ideal product for a Nigerian is one that keeps serving him under rough usage or handling. Now this is at the small scale. Talking about  technology at the industrial level, a lot of improvement can be achieved. With mechatronics, many of our graduates can take center stage in industries  that utilizing automated systems, with this exposure, they can begin to think of how to improve on what already obtains.
Eduregard: Why is innovation sphere stifled in Nigeria?
Me: It baffles me too. I have seen some excellent designs by Nigerians . I keep my ears on the ground hoping to hear that the design has been approved for mass production. But  I never got to hear such. I think the designers of these products should not  tarry  in creating awareness and buzz about their design. They should pitch companies and manufacturers; the design could get accepted and implemented as a sub-section of another product, at least that is progress.
Eduregard: How is mechatronics being covered in Nigeria?
Me: The coverage of mechatronics in Nigeria has been poor. The media has not really given it attention it deserves This is the more reason why I want to utilize any event that affords me the chance to talk about mechatronics so people can begin to hear about it more.
Eduregard: How can mechatronics improve electronics products in Nigeria?
Me:  The greatest concern for me in terms of electronics products in Nigeria is the rate of emissions coming from them. Recently I posted a write up on google plus outlining the effects of these emissions and how they occur. With mechatronics, even if we cannot build the products to completion, we can give specifications to manufacturers and say look this is what we want in our country, this is the quality of material  we want this product to be made from.

Eduregard: Is there a body unifying mechatronics engineers in nigeria?
Me: I have researched severally on that but ended up with nothing. I decided to create a social group on facebook called Mechatronics Engineers Association of Nigeria (MEAN). At least there, we can meet to exchange views and ideas. I intend to take the activities of the association offline so that it will become a registered body in nigreia just like other bodies. Am calling concerned persons to support the move.

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Eduregard: What are you doing to advance mechatrionics in Nigeria?
Me: This interview is one those things that am doing. I have created a facebook page called “ My Mechatronics Corner” where I post useful informations for students  and non-students to access.
My twitter account is filled with useful online resources to help anyone studying mwchatronics and looking for where to get products  for design purposes. I also have  google plus account dedicated to mechatronics. As time progresses, I will launch a magazine about mechatronics as it relates to Nigeria.

Eduregard: What is your message to mechatronics students?
Me: Fellow mechatronites! I want Eduregard to see mechatronics as a unified body of  knowledge and not in the form of it being  a merger of different disciplines. If go with this mindset, I tell Eduregard nothing  useful can come out of it. Try to understand how integration works and how to make useful things out of it that solves problems iin  Nigeria.
Final words.
The federal government should accredit the course in as many institutions as possible to afford Eduregardng technologist the opportunity to widen their scope and exercise their dexterity for the good of Nigeria.

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Eduregard: Thank you for this interview
Me: Pleasure is all mine.

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