This chapter is not a comprehensive review of Japanese developments of human-computer interaction in process control, manufacturing, or other industrial applications. It is rather a discussion of Japan's human-computer research in several selected areas where the JTEC team had the opportunity to gather some evidence and draw some inferences:

  1. The nuclear power industry in Japan has embraced computers to a greater extent than that in the United States. Japan has also maintained a better safety and availability record, even though Japan's original plant designs and procedures were licensed from the United States. The human factors research program in nuclear power is very similar to that in the United States.
  2. The Japanese have a love affair with robots, and their engineers delight in making steady improvements in mechanism design. Of late they are emphasizing robots that are gentle, interact easily with ordinary people (especially the elderly or handicapped), and can be commanded by speech or gesture.
  3. The rail industry in Japan is very healthy, and while not leading the way in computer usage, it is gradually adapting computers for train operations and driver training.
  4. The Japanese are actively exploiting fuzzy logic for many applications, in both consumer and domestic products.

Published: March 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian