Tokyo Tech News
International students from numerous partner universities spent three months at Tokyo Tech starting in June and July 2019 to participate in the Institute's three Schools' summer programs, conducting research at laboratories and enjoying life in Japan.
Participating institutes in 2019
Asia-Oceania Top University League on Engineering: AOTULE
2）Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
3）National Taiwan University
4）Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
5）Nanyang Technological University
6）Bandung Institute of Technology
7) Chulalongkorn University
8）Hanoi University of Science and Technology
9）Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
10）University of Moratuwa
Summer Exchange Research Program: SERP
1）University of Wisconsin-Madison
2） RWTH Aachen University
3） Technical University of Madrid
4） Karlstad University
5） Sorbonne University
6） University of California, Santa Barbara
7） University of Warwick
8） University of Oxford
Asia-Oceania Strategic Universities Exchange Program: AOSU
1） National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
2） Wuhan University of Technology
3） Singapore University of Technology and Design
4） Thammasat University
5） National Cheng Kung University
Student Exchange Program for School of Materials and Chemical Technology
1）University of Genoa
2）National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
Tokyo Tech's School of Engineering, School of Materials and Chemical Technology, and School of Environment and Society have unique academic exchange agreements with some of the world's leading science and engineering universities, allowing them to host and send students from and to these universities. Each international student in the program joins a laboratory and conducts research supervised by a Tokyo Tech professor. Students are also eligible to take intensive Japanese language courses, participate in site visits to prominent companies and institutions, and join various cultural and social events.
Some of these students, their Tokyo Tech counterparts, and supervising professors recently shared their reflections on the past summer.
Helene Jacqueline Levy
4th-year bachelor student, University of California, Santa Barbara
Summer Exchange Research Program (SERP) participant affiliated with Department of Mechanical Engineering
Research topic: Design and Control of Rickshaw Robot
My lab project was extremely interesting and challenging at the same time. I worked on designing and programming a rickshaw robot. I learned a lot in the lab from my professor and lab mates. The people in my lab were always very helpful and it was inspiring to see the creative work they all did. I learned a lot of new and valuable topics from my research lab. Specifically, I learned about linkage systems in robots and how to analyze them well for numerical implementation and optimization. I also gained practical experience programming a motor encoder because my experience was only theoretical before.
I came to Japan to try to decide what my focus should be in my graduate studies. After being in the lab here, I have decided that I really would like to continue studying robotics and control systems.
Comments from supervising professor Nobuyuki Iwatsuki, Dean of the School of Engineering
I suggested Helene conduct a research project entitled "Design and Control of a Rickshaw Robot." This robot was composed of a biped walking machine and a cart with two passive wheels. The research goal was to realize straight and turning walks without falling by using only two motors. In only three months, Helene achieved kinematic analysis of mechanisms, design and manufacturing of a robot, design and implementation of a control system with a microcomputer and then succeeded in walking experiments that revealed the walking characteristics of the robot. Her strenuous efforts during this research made a great impression on other students in my laboratory.
This course is for first-time learners of the Japanese language. Students learn the basics of Japanese grammar and vocabulary needed for conversation in everyday situations. This course also provides knowledge about Japanese culture and society.
As a practical activity incorporated into this course, the summer program students visit an elementary school to engage with local children.
Khodijah Kholish Rumayshah
2nd-year master's student, Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia
AOTULE participant affiliated with Department of Mechanical Engineering
We got a very warm and cheerful welcome from the children on our last visit to the local elementary school. A group of 5th-grade students made a cute nametag for me, guided me around the school, and taught me how to make a pop-up card with a tsuru origami inside. I was glad that every child tried to practice English with me by asking many questions. Then, I joined the 4th-grade students in their classroom and they delivered a very nice presentation about Senzokuike Park. Some of the students taught me how to play the Japanese game "rock-paper-scissors" or janken. When it came to lunchtime, I sat among them to enjoy a delicious Japanese school lunch. One of the dishes on the menu, wakame salad, became one of my favorite Japanese foods.
I had forgotten that interacting with kids can be as fun as this. We didn't have to talk about a heavy topic to get familiar with each other. The kids took me to their pleasant world and I forgot about the burdens of my research for a moment. Thank you, kids. Enjoy your childhood and catch your dream!
In this course, students visit Japanese companies or research institutes specializing in various fields. Through lectures by specialists and on-site visits, the students get an overview of the advanced technologies developed in Japan and study the applications of the technology in manufacturing.
In the summer of 2019, students visited RIKEN, JFE Steel Corporation, TDK Corporation, and Railway Technical Research Institute.
Jahapu Appuhamilage Salika Iroshan Thilakarathne
2nd-year master's student at University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
AOTULE participant affiliated with Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
In the showroom of the TDK premises, there were many sensors to give accurate measurements of distance, temperature, humidity, and many other climatic measurements. Accurate data is vital to validate your research hypothesis, because without it you may not be able to justify your results.
During the data collection stage of my master's degree research, many of that measured data was not reliable. When I checked with the related authorities, they informed me what types of equipment do not have the potential. Therefore, I believe that if I could have used these TDK products for my studies, it would have made a huge difference. Moreover, this visit helped me to understand TDK research methodologies and how their researchers justify their outcomes. The work environment at TDK encourages its employees to think about new research ideas, which I think we lack in our home country.
MISW 2019 was held on August 7 and 8 for the AOTULE summer students and Tokyo Tech's graduate-level engineering students to encourage innovation across disciplines via a research-based workshop and promote cross-cultural understanding.
Participants presented their own research or a related topic in either oral or poster presentation format. To encourage high-quality presentations, all efforts were evaluated, with the best ones receiving awards. The best presenters from approximately 20 Tokyo Tech graduate-level students were selected to attend the AOTULE Student Workshop, which Tokyo Tech will host from November 25 to 27, 2019.
Participating students spent a productive time fully demonstrating their research through presentations and exchanging views. They also enjoyed a plenary lecture entitled "Relationships Among People" by Dr. Takeshi Yamada, head recruiter at digital art collective teamLab.
3rd-year doctoral student, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
AOTULE participant affiliated with Department of Chemical Science and Engineering
It was my honor to participate in MISW 2019. There were several participants, which gave us a great opportunity to interact with postgraduate and undergraduate students from all over the world. Though the topics presented were from diverse fields ranging from mechanical engineering to civil engineering, the event provided new ideas and learnings in innovations in these fields. The cutting-edge research was a pleasure to listen to where credit most goes to the researchers who presented the gaps in their field and their innovative solutions and research ideas so well.
My oral presentation at MISW was different from past presentations due to the diverse backgrounds of the audience members. It was a challenging yet wonderful experience to explain my research work in a simplified manner while getting across the science behind the work. The time limit of 10 minutes also restricted the content I was able to present. It was a good learning experience to explain the background in a concise manner within the time given, and to see how other presenters crafted their stories.
My one piece of feedback would probably be regarding the decision to assign a chairperson for each session. I was given the opportunity to conduct one of the sessions. Though it turned out to be an interesting experience, and there were some productive discussions that resulted from the session, it was definitely a challenge. It might have been helpful if my background had been slightly similar so I could motivate the audience to ask questions and kick-start a discussion in a proactive manner. Having said that, it surely became more fun for me this way, as I had to do some reading on the different topics and ask my other AOTULE members to give me a crash course before the session!
Overall, it was a wonderful experience which ended with group work including a fun activity of building a bridge with just origami paper. We didn't get even close to building the longest bridge, and we were in awe of the team who did so with a very simple technique.
In cooperation with the Meguro International Friendship Association (MIFA), a flower arrangement and tea ceremony workshop took place as part of the hands-on cultural experience at Meguro City Office on July 11, 2019. Participants learned about the spirit of hospitality and acquired basic knowledge in the two arts.
3rd-year doctoral student, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
AOSU participant affiliated with Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Thanks a lot for the wonderful memories. I think ikebana is very interesting and the work is beautiful. It is a kind of traditional art which needs a lot of passion and the feel of the season. I am lucky because when I went back to the lab, my Japanese tutor, who said he had never tried it before, thought I was great. I appreciate the contribution of Soma-sensei and the assistants.
The next experience was sado. I think it's incredible how long many Japanese people can sit on their knees! This time I not only drank the matcha tea in the traditional way, but Soma-sensei also taught me how to make it. It was very interesting. Now I know that real matcha tea is full of bubbles on the surface. I need to say that the snacks we had were delicious, and I hope to bring some back to Taiwan. During the Q&A session, Soma-sensei explained the kimono. I hope that someday I have a chance to wear one. They are so elegant. I think the Japanese culture class was very successful.
Another characteristic of Tokyo Tech is the planning and execution of various networking events between its inbound and outbound exchange students. To get this year's participants acclimatized, Tokyo Tech students who studied at a partner university in the past, or plan to do so later this year, organized campus tours. They showed their counterparts facilities such as the HUB International Communications Space and the Sports Center, and enjoyed lunch at the Cafeteria. Before each tour, Tokyo Tech's librarians also conducted a 30-minute viewing of the library.
Each of the summer programs organized farewell and welcome parties. Participants enjoyed introducing their home countries, universities, and themselves, socializing with Tokyo Tech students and joining events representative of Japanese culture.
School of Engineering
—Creating New Industries and Advancing Civilization—
Information on School of Engineering inaugurated in April 2016
School of Materials and Chemical Technology
—Encompassing the Disciplines of Science—
Information on School of Materials and Chemical Technology inaugurated in April 2016
School of Environment and Society
—Adapting Environments to Shifting Attitudes—
Information on School of Environment and Society inaugurated in April 2016