This is a short trip report dealing with mechatronics as it is employed currently in Japan. The word "mechatronics" was invented by Japanese engineers and is used to bridge mechanical and electrical systems. Much has happened since the word was first coined in the late 1960s, technically and socially. The report shows that exchange of ideas between various disciplines is still a very strong Japanese cultural trait, and is currently helping Japan to prepare for the future, and deal with current economic problems. The author visited six organizations: two companies, two universities, and two professional organizations. While each had a different perspective on what is happening in areas that are related to mechatronics, what is clear is that globalization of markets has had a major impact on how Japan is viewing itself and positioning itself for the future.

Published: September 1998; WTEC Hyper-Librarian