ICMA 2009 Conference
as a Social Technology
Deputy-Director and Chief Strategist
Future Robotic Technology Center
Chiba Insititute of Technology
2-17-1 Tsudanuma, Narachino, Chiba 275-0016, Japan
In the last century, R&D in robotics had been mainly concentrated on industrial robot and its
related applications. In the 21th century R&D activities in robotics have been continuously
high in Japan for the first decade. Representatively, METI, Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade
and Industry, successively launched R&D projects in robot area. Topics of the projects cover
from fundamental technology to industrial/commercial applications. Recently topics are rather
shifted to service application including home usage. It is very interesting fact that such diversity
in R&D is specific in robotics. This may be contributed to unique and different feature of robotics
in comparison with other engineering fields. In short robotics is integration of all the fields from
both science and engineering. To construct a robot we need knowledge of mathematics, physics, electronics,
control theory, computer science and more. To utilize robots we directly need knowledge of objective
application field. Thus essence of robotics is to integrate all the science and technology to produce
physical/mechanical systems to be utilized in factory, business and home. Since 21th century application
field of robotics largely shifted to daily and home-oriented topics. Robotics is required to solve such
human-oriented issues and produce novel machines, equipments, systems utilized for them. Robotics will
become a social technology in addition to the industrial technology in the future.
Hirai is Deputy-Director and Chief Strategist of the Future Robotics
Technology Center at the Chiba Institute of Technology. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D.
in physical engineering from Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1973, 1975, and 1978
respectively. From 1978 to 2009, he had been with Electro technical Laboratory, MITI. Electro
technical Laboratory and other research institutions under MITI were integrated into National
Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, AIST, Japan, in 2001, where he was
inaugurated as Deputy-Director of Intelligent Systems Research Institute and Director in 2004.
From April 2009, he has been with Chiba Institute of Technology and currently is Deputy-Director
and Chief Strategist of the Future Robotics Technology Center. He is a member of IEEE Robotics
and Automation Society, Robotics Society of Japan, Japan Association of Mechanical Engineers,
Society of Instrument and Control Engineers.