Engineers

Meet the engineers who are driving robotics forward

The engineers below, who are from both inside and outside Panasonic, are working to advance robotics through open innovation.

Takeshi Ando Takeshi Ando

Manager, Robotics Promotion Office
Manufacturing Innovation Division,
Panasonic Corporation
Takeshi Ando

Ando joined Panasonic after working as a robotics researcher at a university (Faculty of Science and Engineering/Faculty of Medicine).
He is involved in a wide range of activities, from research and development of underlying technologies for robotics to business development, and serves as chairman of Robotics Hub.
He also takes an active role in scientific societies, serving as Technical Deputy Chairman of the Robotics and Mechatronics Division of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers and as a trustee of the Robotics Society of Japan.

Masaki Yamamoto Masaki Yamamoto

Chief Engineer, AI Solution Center
Business Innovation Division, Innovation Promotion Department,
Panasonic Corporation
Masaki Yamamoto

After joining Panasonic, he studied intelligent robots at an overseas research institute. Later, he returned to Japan to carry out research and development of human-cooperative robots.
In recent years, he has participated in a robotics challenge with a joint team of researchers from industry and academia, and also led the training of Panasonic’s mechanism control engineers.

Noriaki Imaoka Noriaki Imaoka

Staff Engineer, Robotics Promotion Office, Manufacturing Innovation Division,
Panasonic Corporation
Noriaki Imaoka

Before joining Panasonic two years ago, Imaoka worked on transmission design at an automobile company. He has been active in the WHILL NEXT project from the beginning, and is mainly in charge of the overall mechanical design and design of safety control systems.
Through this project, he hopes to commercialize products that apply robotics technology and promote their spread around the world.

Hiroyuki Uematsu Hiroyuki Uematsu

Staff Engineer, Robotics Promotion Office, Manufacturing Innovation Division,
Panasonic Corporation
Hiroyuki Uematsu

Uematsu has been developing robots at Panasonic for 15 years, even when the company was known as Matsushita Electric Works.
He spent many years working on the HOSPI development project, and has been involved in the WHILL NEXT project from its beginning. Originally, he specialized in mechanical design, but now he focuses on development management.
Through this project, he hopes to promote the use of robot technology around the world.

Yohei Kume Yohei Kume

Manager, Robot/Rehabilitation Business Development Department, Age-Free Business Unit
Life Solutions Company,
Panasonic Corporation
Yohei Kume

In 2006, Kume began developing nursing robots in Panasonic’s Engineering Department, and since 2015 he has been in charge of product and business development for nursing robots in the Nursing Business Division.
During that time, he has taken part in various initiatives to make nursing robots practical, including robotics research at a university (obtaining a doctorate) and national projects (obtaining a robot safety certification).

Shohei Tsukada Shohei Tsukada

Assistant Chief, Robot/Rehabilitation Business Development Department, Age-Free Business Unit
Life Solutions Company,
Panasonic Corporation
Shohei Tsukada

Since joining Panasonic in 2007, Tsukada has been active in the research and development of nursing robots.
Until recently, he worked mainly on mechanical design, but now he also serves as a project leader for next-generation products.
Tsukada hopes to develop more devices that will be useful for nursing by applying robot technology.

External partners

Kazumichi Shirai Kazumichi Shirai

Manager, Systems Development Department,
WHILL Inc.
Kazumichi Shirai

In university, Shirai took his major in the Department of Adaptive Machine Systems.
After working at a major electronics manufacturer, he joined WHILL, where he now oversees the Systems Development Department.
His goal is to enhance the control systems of WHILL, making it a personal mobility device that a broader range of people can use in a variety of ways.

Dr. Gustavo Garcia Dr. Gustavo Garcia

Assistant Professor, Robotics Laboratory,
Nara Institute of Science and Technology
Dr. Gustavo Garcia

Garcia obtained his Ph.D. in robotics from the Nara Institute of Science and Technology, and now serves as an Assistant Professor in the Robotics Laboratory of the same university. He studies safe robot control systems, human-robot interactions and system integration, research premised on the co-existence of robots with people. In recent years, he has collaborated with Panasonic in an international robotics competition.

Dr. Lotfi El Hafi Dr. Lotfi El Hafi

Senior Researcher, Ritsumeikan Global Innovation Research Organization,
Ritsumeikan University
Dr. Lotfi El Hafi

El Hafi received his Ph.D. in robotics from the Nara Institute of Science and Technology, and now focuses his studies on service robotics, image processing and artificial intelligence as a specialist researcher at Ritsumeikan University’s Ritsumeikan Global Innovation Research Organization (R-GIRO). In recent years, he has collaborated with Panasonic in an international robotics competition.