Tokyo Tech News
The Future Creation Challenge, a student contest in which participants are encouraged to make their thoughts and ideas, no matter how small, a reality, culminated in the final presentation session at Hisao & Hiroko Taki Plaza (Taki Plaza) on Ookayama Campus on May 25. Organized jointly by the Student Support Center's Student Success Support Section, Student Services Department's Student Support Division, and the Tokyo Tech Alumni Association, the contest saw five teams competing in the finals for prize money totaling 1.5 million yen to support further development of their ideas.
After the April 2021 opening of Taki Plaza, Tokyo Tech's new student exchange hub, the Future Creation Challenge was launched to encourage students to engage in new activities in diverse teams, openly express their thought and ideas through creative challenges, and take that "first step" to making their ideas a reality. Contest organizers began accepting applications in August 2021, conducted document and presentation reviews in September, and eventually selected five out of the thirty-eight applicants for the finals. The finalist teams began working on their projects in October, and received regular feedback and consultations from faculty members throughout the winter and spring months before the final in May.
At the final presentations, Chairman and Director Hisao Taki of Gurunavi Inc., the Tokyo Tech alumnus whose gift made Taki Plaza possible, representatives of media and advertising company NKB Inc., venture capital firm Innovations and Future Creation Inc., the Tokyo Tech Alumni Association, and Tokyo Tech's Office of Research and Innovation were present to offer their advice and comments on the projects.
This team created a web application that provides "opportunities" to talk to classmates. The team participants, all 1st-year students in the bachelor's degree program, create questions they would like their classmates to ask them, such as their home region, and when classmates bump into each other on campus, they engage and ask each other some of these questions. If questions are answered correctly, players earn points and win prizes according to the number of points they have earned.
2nd year, Physics
At first, I was not sure if we would be able to create this application, but thanks to the faculty members and fellow classmates who helped us, we were not only able to complete the application, but also have it be used by first-year bachelor's program students. Although there are still some points that need improvement, we would like to build a system through trial and error that is easier and more fun to use in the future.
This project involved an indirect light created by folding synthetic paper into an animal shape. A smart speaker can be attached to the head of the animal, so the contraption also acts as an interface that can distract you if you are feeling depressed or lonely. It can help relieve the psychological stress of daily life because you acquire the physical sensation of having someone or a pet robot in your home.
3rd-year doctoral student, Architecture and Building Engineering
Through the Future Creation Challenge, I gained the strength and confidence to realize my ideas, and I am very happy to have been selected for the finals. I will continue to strive to turn my initiatives into entrepreneurial ventures and to contribute in my own way to making other people's lives more comfortable.
The goal of this project was the fusion of industry and art. The team worked to create new products that would be easily accepted by the general public by incorporating elements of art into interesting engineering objects. Specifically, they focused on the automatic cutting machine, a tool that Japanese creators have refined due in part to the technological contributions of Tokyo Tech, and worked through trial and error to find ways to make it more appealing. The team hopes that their work will be appreciated not only from the aspect of mechanical engineering, which is their field of expertise, but also from an artistic point of view. Their plan is to enter exhibitions such as those organized by Nitten, one of the major art organizations in Japan.
2nd-year master's student, Mechanical Engineering
From the very start, I wanted to develop this project from a broad perspective, and so I teamed up with mathematics fan Ryosuke Ozaki and design expert Kosuke Kiguchi, both of whom are 2nd-year master's students in Mechanical Engineering. In my experience, the higher the level of expertise, the tougher it is to adopt a broad perspective. The work might have turned out very opinionated if all of us had the same sensibilities and approaches. In this contest, we were able to broaden our perspectives by holding discussions with and gathering ideas from many people from different fields. One such idea was to launch a robot contest utilizing the novelty of the project.
This project was all about developing Taki Connect, a 1-on-1 exchange app for smartphones, as a new tool for international and Japanese students to interact. By limiting the use of the app to students visiting Taki Plaza in real time, the team was able to provide a secure and casual means of communication among the Tokyo Tech student population.
4th year, Industrial Engineering and Economics
The Future Creation Challenge not only provided financial support, but also regular meetings to report on the progress of the project, and opportunities to receive in-depth support on where and how to proceed with the project. We hope to make use of the knowledge and experience we have gained in the future.
During this project, team members reported on various themes about the Ookayama area by publishing them on the Note information sharing website. By sharing information on topics such as Mt. Fuji viewing, little-known yet pleasant spots on campus, and interviews with local residents, the Ookayama Town Info Project aimed to help both students and residents enjoy their lives in Ookayama by providing them with a deeper understanding of the town. The Note pages of the project are accessible to everyone.
3rd-year doctoral student, Urban Design and Built Environment
I was able to learn more about Ookayama than I would have known if I had just spent time there as a student or as a resident. Through interviews with residents and research into the history of Ookayama, I was also able to gain valuable experience in urban planning and city planning, which is my specialization at Tokyo Tech. I would like to thank all those who supported us throughout this project.