Special Issue on Robotics and Mechatronics Which Lead the 21st Century
University of Electro-Communications, 1-5-1 Chofugaoka, Chofu, Tokyo, Japan
Today we celebrate the 21st Century’s first issue of the Journal of Robotics and Mechatronics. Modern robotics technology was initiated by 2 US industrial robots, Unimate and Versatran, developed in 1962. George C. Devol’s US patent in 1958 on the programmable machine advantageous in repetitive work provided a key technology for both industrial robots and robotics. “Programmable” combines machines (hardware) and computer (software). One of the most outstanding examples of this combination is mechatronics. Products based on mechatronics technology (MT) include industrial equipment, home appliances, and personal goods. In Japan, MT products have been occupying the largest part of export on a money basis since the 1960s. Although the main interest of robotics was the industrial robot and its application to production automation up to the 1980s, concepts and products related to a robotics have changed and expanded its realm from production use to personal use, expanding the coexistence of the robot and human beings. Honda Motor Corp. released the Humanoid P2, the world’s first human-like biped able to walk dynamically in 1997. It created worldwide surprise and enthusiasm. Two years after the appearance of P2, Sony Corp. put its canine robot AIBO into the world market where it created an even greater shock than P2. We recognize three important technologies that have accomplished major human global development in the last half of the 20th century. They are information technology (IT) based on computer technology, MT including robotic technology and biotechnology (BT). We believe these three will prevail as fundamental technologies in the first half of the 21 st Century and the combination or integration of these technologies such as I-MT, B-MT, I-BT, and B-IT will become more and more important in providing fruitful results. In closing, I would like to express my cordial thanks to all authors who submitted such informative and invaluable papers for this issue.
Copyright© 2001 by Fuji Technology Press Ltd. and Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers. All right reserved.