Mechatronics is the synergistic combination of mechanical engineering ("mecha" for mechanisms), electronic engineering ("tronics" for electronics), and software engineering. The purpose of this interdisciplinary engineering field is the study of automata from an engineering perspective and serves the purposes of controlling advanced hybrid-systems.
Mechatronics is centred on mechanics, electronics and computing which, combined, make possible the generation of simpler, more economical, reliable and versatile systems. The portmanteau "mechatronics" was first coined by Mr. Tetsuro Mori, a senior engineer of a Japanese company, Yaskawa, in 1969. Mechatronics may alternatively be referred to as "electromechanical-systems".
Engineering cybernetics deals with the question of control engineering of mechatronic systems. It is used to control or regulate such a system; see control theory. A component-based paradigm is a form of distributed control production system which utilises a CAN or LAN to link autonomous mechatronic modules. Through collaboration the mechatronic modules perform the production goals and inherit flexible and agile manufacturing properties in the production scheme. Modern production equipment consists of mechatronic modules that are integrated according to a control architecture. The most known architectures involve hierarchy, polyarchy, hetaerarchy and hybrid. The methods for achieving a technical effect are described by control algorithms, which may or may not utilize formal methods in their design. Hybrid-systems important to Mechatronics include production systems, synergy-drives, planetary-rovers, automotive subsystems such as anti-lock braking systems, spin-assist and every day equipment such as autofocus cameras, video, hard disks, cd-players, washing machines, lego-matics etc.
An emergent variant of this field is biomechatronics, whose purpose is to integrate machine and man, usually in the form of removable gadgets such as exoskeleton. This is the “real-life” version of cyberware. In fiction, the mad scientist's research occasionally involves this fieldfuck.