CITIZEN’S FORUM 

by Waleed Irfan

 

Don’t you just love how you can control your computer, smart phones, home appliances and various other everyday equipments? The command you have over them, the changes you can make in, and with, them and the many tasks you can complete at the touch of a button; all of these have been made possible by the concerted efforts of a lot of individuals and organizations in an attempt to merge the major fields of engineering.

As the name suggests, the word Mechatronics is a field of Engineering that is a combination of Mechanical and Electronics. Additionally, it also involves the innovative field of Computers and Controls as well. The word Mechatronics came into existence in 1969 when Tetsuro Mori, a senior engineer in a Japanese company, realized how the majority of latest inventions were changing from a completely Mechanical or Electronic operating system to a combination of both. A purely mechanical or electronic engineer was not able to deal with the problems of designing  a product which was mechatronics in nature, electrical or electronics driven; hence Mechatronics started to gain ground. Soon after, the world began to realize the importance of Mechatronics and the field started to flourish all of a sudden.

The demand of Mechatronics started to increase at a very high rate around the early 90s and organizations started to use it as a platform in creating new devices. Industries and Organizations used the field to automate machines and equipments. The applications of Mechatronics can now be visualized almost everywhere. From your smart television to the Anti Lock Braking System in your car, Mechatronics is now dominating the world and making life a lot easy. Almost every industry in the world is now relying on this field for the fulfillment of their tasks. Automatic wheel chairs, surveillance drones and robots, autonomous cars and intelligent headlights are just glimpses of what Mechatronics is capable of.

In Pakistan, however, Mechatronics Engineering has not yet been as influential as Mechanical, Electrical or Civil Engineering. In a world where almost all the production processes are electromechanical in nature, Pakistan is still using the conventional methods and has not yet fully adapted to this versatile field of engineering. As of a research conducted in 2013, only 8 universities in Pakistan were offering Mechatronics. Though the numbers have risen to almost a dozen in 2016, that still does not make up for the increased use of conventional methods and sidelining the modern methods.

 

People in Pakistan are still not aware of what Mechatronics Engineering is. To familiarize the people of Pakistan with this field, print and electronic media must play an integral part. Side by side, awareness campaigns and seminars need to be conducted at regular intervals in schools and colleges so that children can make up their mind according to their interest and not anyone else’s. Research and Development departments of the industries must also be developed and encouraged to do research projects with universities in order to provide the perfect platform and a career building opportunity to the graduate students to work for the benefits of not only the industry but also for their country.