The term "mechatronics" comes from the words "mechanical" and "electronics" combined. It combines traditional fields of mechanical and electrical engineering, fused together with IT or computer science and mathematics. The application of mechatronics in everyday life ranges from power systems to transportation; optical telecommunications to biomedical engineering, along with a long list of related disciplines. It was coined by Tetsuro Mori, a Japanese engineer from Yasukawa Electric Company, in 1969.
Mechatronic systems exist in almost every science, mechanical or industrial field, and it seems that there are no limits to the future of this discipline. Development of robotic systems, implants in the human body to improve physiological functions, and other technologies may improve knowledge and human life. The field has long been popular in Japan and Europe, and since the 2000s, it is slowly gaining academic and industrial acceptance as a scientific field and practice in the U.K. the U.S.
Those who study or complete a degree in the field can have careers in a large spectrum of industries. Career opportunities in this fast emerging and evolving discipline exist both in the private and public sectors. Graduates can have a successful career in aerospace, robotics, defense and automotive production, food processing, space systems, modern industrial systems, manufacturing, sales and manufacturing of engineered products, information technology, and even business.
A person with a degree in this discipline can contribute greatly as a software engineer, project manager, project planner, project designer, or design engineer. Statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that mechatronics engineers have had excellent employment opportunities. Furthermore, the demand for highly qualified professionals possessing multidisciplinary skills, combined with knowledge of mechanical and electronic systems, may continues to rise.
Products considered mechatronic devices or smart devices have become ubiquitous. Engineers can employ their services to companies that develop, design, manufacture, and market these smart devices. People make use of these devices, often without even being aware of the mechatronic field. Some of these smart devices include computer disk drives, robots, photocopiers, robots, clothes dryers, and windshield wipers.
These mechatronic devices can be found in industries such as agriculture, medicine and surgery, homes, buildings, automobiles, entertainment, and the toy industry. Products may also be used as aids for the disabled and elderly. As a highly dynamic and multi-faceted discipline, students and teachers must constantly be aware of new academic discoveries, and regularly update and sharpen their skills in order to fully exhaust the discipline’s possible contributions to mankind.