Shigeki Sugano

Interview Location: Japan

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Sugano discusses his career in the field of robotics. He outlines his time at Waseda University and his involvement with several robotics projects, including the WABOT-2 and TWENDY-ONE systems. Commenting on the integration of intelligence research in humanoid robotics and the state and future of robotics as a whole, he discusses the challenges of human-robot interaction and of receiving research funding. Additionally, he provides advice for young people interested in the field.

Biography

Shigeki Sugano was born on September 29th, 1958 in Tokyo, Japan. He studied Mechanical Engineering at Waseda University, earning his B.S., M.S., and Doctorate of Engineering in 1981, 1983, and 1989, respectively. From 1987 to 1991, he served as a research associate at the university until when he became a faculty member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, where he is continues today. From 2001 to 2012 he served as director of the Waseda WABOT-HOUSE lab. He became Associate Dean of the School of Creative Science and Engingeering at Waseda in 2011 and the director of the Institute for Techno-Innovation at Chubu-Area Industries in 2012. He also been a member of the Humanoid Robotics Institute at Waseda since 2000 and served as Program Coordinator of the MEXT Leading Graduate Program: Waseda Embodiment Informatics Program since 2013. Sugano's research interests focus on human-symbiotic anthropomorphic robot design, manipulator design, and human-robot interaction. Much of his much of his work has concentrated on realizing the Japanese concept of "kokuro," mind, affection, emotion and intelligence combined, in humanoid robots. His contributions to the field of robotics include involvement in many robotics projects and several positions in robotics organizations and publications, which have earned him various awards and honors, including the IEEE RAS Distinguished Award in 2008 and RSJ Distinguished Service Award in 2012.