Tribotronics is a term coined by The Division of Machine Elements at Lulea University of Technology. Tribotronics in simple terms mean developing an active tribological system or converting a passive tribological system in to an active one. Tribotronics is still a concept and requires a lot of research and development before it can be brought into practical applications. 
Tribotronics can be referred to as an advanced tool/method of predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance involves regular monitoring of indicators of machine condition, which provides the data which can be used to predict when maintenance should be performed. Tribotronics is an integration of Tribology and Electronics. It employs a sensor that monitors the tribological parameters of a system in real-time that helps in determining the actual state of the system. 
A Tribotronic system consists of four main components:
- Sensors: Extracts tribological data about the condition of the system and transmits it to the central processing unit.
- Central processing unit (CPU): Tribological data received from various sensors is processed by software’s in real time and a solution to the problem in the form of output is sent to actuators.
- Actuators: Implements the solution received from central processing unit
- Computer: Allows the user to view and control the adjustments or solutions made by the Trbotronic system.
In order to understand the working of Tribotronic system, consider a piston sliding against cylinder wall. The sensors will look for friction or wear loss (which can be in the form of material loss or weight loss) at the interface of piston and cylinder wall contact. This data is picked up by sensors and processed by a CPU. Depending on the results, the CPU can actuate lubricant injectors using tribo-actuators to dispense lubricant at the interface to reduce friction or wear. The CPU can calculate quality of lubricant required for the particular interface in order to maintain existing lubrication regime and also can re-introduce additives in case of additive depletion in a lubricant.
A more practical example has been referred by Sergei Glavatskih and Erik Hoglund in their paper “Tribotronics—Towards active tribology”. The authors depicts the use of a micro-heater which acts as a tribo-actuator for providing “on-demand” lubrication in space applications when friction between tribo-contacts increases. 
A Tribotronic system helps in reducing inspection costs as causes/conditions leading to failure are predicted earlier via electronic sensors and systems. The technology focuses on automated sensors and data processing units which helps in reducing labor costs. Failure of machine components reduces which leads to decrease in equipment cost and down time. 
Tribotronics is the future of maintenance. Proper data on friction and wear of mechanical components will help in improving the life and reliability of the entire machine. Further research and development can help in decreasing tribological failures in machines. 
- Buzzword of the day: Tribotronic, https://www.newscientist.com/blog/technology/2007/08/buzzword-of-day-tribotronic.html
- Glavatskih, Sergei, and Erik Höglund. “Tribotronics – Towards Active Tribology” Tribology International 41.9-10 (2008): 934-39.
- Adachi K, Kato K. Reliable design of space system in tribology viewpoint. In: 22nd international symposium on space technology and science, 2000, p. 593–8.
- Adachi K, et al. Micro-system of lubrication with in-situ tribocoating for space mechanisms. In: International tribology conference, Kobe 2005
- Liu, Ying, Simiao Niu, and Zhong Lin Wang. “Theory of Tribotronics.” Advanced Electronic Materials 1.9 (2015): 1500124
- Real-time lubricant ageing analysis: first step towards a Tribotronic system, Prashant Rana https://www.studentapan.se/product/detail/91347/essay/
- Diagram has been made by the writer
- Featured images used are free for commercial use and are taken from pixabay.com