NAIST students are encouraged to pursue their own research projects. One of the avenues that NAIST offers is the CICP (Creative and International Competitiveness Project), a 6-month program in which students assemble a team, apply with a proposal and independently manage research funds to realize their project. At the CICP workshop, students present their progress.
The NAIST Tea Time is an opportunity to connect with faculty, staff and students across the whole campus. This time, guests enjoyed Buko Pandan, a traditional Filipino dessert, and played Fukuwarai, a traditional Japanese New Year’s game.
At the annual Reuse Market, students can receive used appliances and goods donated by students who have graduated and left the university. In 2016, over 200,000 JPY (2,000 USD) worth of goods have been distributed to students on a pay-what-you-want basis. The Recycling Club recounts what goes into planning and organizing the event, and how it became what it is today.
On November 13th NAIST carried out his Open Campus event. Unlike the one that takes place in March, this one targets kids and is full with activities and stalls where they can interact with new technologies and try a variety of interesting demos. But in the middle of all of that, there is always a moment for some physical activity. For this, NAIST Kendo Club also participated in the event, offering an exhibition of kendo equipment, videos of current tournaments and, the most popular, a kendo try-out.
On November 13th, NAIST carried out an Open Campus dedicated especially to kids, where they could learn about science while having fun at the same time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.