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Message from the division head

Toru Omata (Tokyo Institute of Technology),
95th Head of the Robotics and Mechatronics Division

I am honored to have been appointed as the head of the Robotics and Mechatronics Division during its 95th term. As this is an important responsibility, I would like to contribute to the further development of the division by enlisting the help of the deputy head, Mr. Hiroki Murakami (IHI Corporation), the divisional secretary, Mr. Takahiro Kanno (Tokyo Medical and Dental University), and the members of the planning and operating committees.

Society's expectation of robotics and mechatronics is rising. In June last year, we hosted ROBOMECH2016, a conference whose main theme was entitled "Robotics and Mechatronics Shaping the Future Society." During the special seminar, Yuji Kuroiwa, the Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture, introduced the prefecture's endeavor to combat "mibyo" (pre-symptomatic state) in anticipation of an increasingly aging society. The talk communicated the prefecture's attitude to proactively shape the future, rather than reacting passively to an aging population. The talk also communicated the expectations that robotics and mechatronics will play an important part.

There were over 1,200 presentations during the robotics and mechatronics conference, spanning a wide range of fields including emergency rescue, nuclear power plant application, infrastructure inspection, oceanography, space, agriculture, medicine, welfare, biotechnology, and others. This is proof that robotics and mechatronics are technologies that touch all areas. Fortunately, our division is well-positioned to lead such a ubiquitous technology. Some believe the future of Japan is bleak, with a decreasing child birth rate, aging population, and worsening economy. Therefore, let us shape a brighter future with robotics and mechatronics through our division's creative research activities. However, despite these advantages and potential applications, society has concerns that robots may take away future employment. As an academic organization, we need to demonstrate that our division can generate new jobs by creating new industries.

ROBOMECH2017 will be held in Fukushima, and there are high expectations regarding the role that robotics and mechatronics will play in the nuclear reactor decommissioning process. Fukushima Prefecture is also expecting that robotics will help form a new industry. Furthermore, our division will host the following academic symposiums: the 27th Intelligent System Symposium (FAN2017) and the 23rd Robotics Symposia (host organization conference). I seek our members' proactive participation in these academic forums to ensure their success. Finally, I would encourage everyone to submit papers to our English language journal, ROBOMEC Journal, taking advantage of its open access format.

Last Update: 2017/05/08
Published by: JSME Robotics and Mechatronics Division Publicity Committee