The Recycle Market 2017

Each year, the NAIST Recycling Club collects household items from graduating students, and redistributes

Open Campus Autumn 2016: Road traffic simulator

NAIST held Open Campus on Sunday November 13, 2016. The Mobile Computing Laboratory also contributed to this event by demonstrating the usage of a popular simulator, Simulation of Urban MObility (SUMO), which simulates road traffic.

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Campus culture: Halloween Party 2016

With a student body consisting of roughly 20% international students, the NAIST campus fosters a vibrant and diverse culture. One of the regular events organised by the students is a Halloween costume party with changing themes. This year’s party was the Silly Costume Party. Read below to find out what kind of costumes did the students came up with.

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Campus Clean Day 2016: Together it’s more fun!

On October 6th, NAIST students took part in the annual Campus Clean Day event that takes place during one evening in October. In this event, students and professors from all labs in every graduate school get together to cooperate for one hour in the laborious task of cleaning the school grounds. This includes not only sweeping, but also getting rid of the weeds that grow from year to year between the cobblestones of NAIST’s paths.

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Fire Drill 2016: Live exercise

Japan is a country with regular earthquakes, natural disaster, and mass sudden death. As such, it is important to keep in mind the necessary procedures to keep oneself and others safe. Institutions like NAIST regular hold drills to ensure the timely evacuation of their buildings. This year’s fire drill was aimed at the staff and foreign students of the Graduate School of Information Science.

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Robotics Lab at Japan Robot Week 2016

NAIST fosters exchange between academia and industry, and welcomes industry collaborations. The Robotics Laboratory of the Graduate School of Information Science went out to represent NAIST at the Keihanna Business Messe in Kyoto Prefecture and the biannual Japan Robot Week in Tokyo. Read more about their experience below.

Japan Robot Week is a biannual robot exhibition held at the Tokyo Big Sight. It alternates every year with the equally renowned International Robot Exhibition (iREX), and attracts tens of thousands visitors each year, making it one of the biggest robotics exhibitions worldwide.

The Robotics Laboratory booth at JRW 2016.
The Robotics Laboratory booth at JRW 2016.

This year, the Robotics Laboratory demonstrated a robot arm that can play a game of ball with visitors. The robot catches balls thrown by visitors and throws them back to them. “We prepared a demo that is both approachable for children, and which we use to teach high school students about physics and programming as well. With more and more young people shying away from engineering studies, it is important to show them that there is no magic in technology, and they can take part in making it happen.”, PhD student Felix von Drigalski mentions.

But is a robot that catches and throws balls really that useful? “Naturally this project is insular, but it aligns with our research on household robots.”, Assistant Professor Ming Ding says. “We want to develop robots that support humans in every stage of their life, be it at work, at home or during nursing care and rehabilitation.”

Master's student Sung-Gwi Cho explaining the 3D-printable prosthetic hand Finch designed for amputees.
Master’s student Sung-Gwi Cho explaining the 3D-printable prosthetic hand Finch designed for amputees.

“Most people have few opportunities to see complex robots in action, and seeing them up close and approachable always leaves a smile on their faces,” the team remarks. On the last day of the event, a TV crew from Mezamashi TV (めざましテレビ) came by to play with the robot. A TV personality happily volunteered to play ball with the robot and spread the word about the inevitable future in which it is our robot overlords who entertain our children.

The Robotics Laboratory is highly international and regularly receives exchange students. You can find out more about their research activity on the laboratory’s website.

Bike-sharing at NAIST, courtesy of the Recycling Club

Bikes are one of the healthiest and cheapest transport options around. However, exchange students often cannot afford to buy one for a short stay, and regular students may have a bike with a flat tire that they cannot or do not have the time to repair. That’s when the Recycling Club comes into action.

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NAIST told by Cédric Abiven, French Intern at the Robotics Lab

VSP met with Cédric Abiven, a French Intern at the Robotics Laboratory. It was the opportunity for him to share is impressions on his 6-month stay at NAIST and about Japan in general.

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