Tokyo Tech News
On July 23, 2014, Tokyo Tech hosted Prof. Chokeanand Bussracumpakorn, Chairman of the Design and Planning Program, and a group of six graduate students from the Graduate School of Architecture and Design (SoA+D) of King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), Thailand.
Design-related activities were organized by the "cm design lab" at the Department of Mechanical Sciences and Engineering, Tokyo Tech. The group participated in a design workshop and joined a visit to "teamLab" company in Tokyo.
The students from KMUTT and from Tokyo Tech mixed into several teams for a design workshop using Design Thinking principles. The workshop aimed at stimulating creativity and collaboration between students from different academic backgrounds, for example, industrial design and mechanical engineering, and different nationalities including Canadian, Chinese, French, Indian, Japanese, and Thai.
The teams had to come up with design concepts for survival kits in a situation of floods, an issue that Japan and Thailand have in common. They used Design Thinking principles to produce "quick-and-dirty" prototypes and storytelling. The design concepts were original, inventive and practical.
The Tokyo Tech - KMUTT group visited teamLab, a Tokyo-based company created in 2001, which counts two Tokyo Tech alumni among its four directors. The company specializes in "Creative Technology" at the borders between engineering, art, and design. Most of the 300 employees at teamLab have an engineering background and use their technical skills (computer science, robotics, mathematics etc.) to design innovative and interactive systems, such as the 40-meter long digital animated Tokyo Map mural at Tokyo Skytree.
The students could understand how engineering is used as the backbone of a creative design process, to create new user experiences with product design and art installations.
Since the signature of a university-wide agreement in 2007, KMUTT and Tokyo Tech exchange faculties and students under tuition waiver. Under the "Academic Cooperation Agreement Program" (ACAP), Tokyo Tech is now hosting a Master student from KMUTT, David Watson, for a 6-month research project on "Designing for a Magical User Experience". Dr. Chokeanand Bussracumpacorn (KMUTT) and Dr. Celine Mougenot (Tokyo Tech) are working on strengthening the links between the two universities, through student exchanges and collaborative research in design.