Hakusanroku Journal 白山麓ジャーナル

January 18, 2021 Engineering Design 1B Projects

Hi, it's Jonathan, the camera man. Today I would like to give a report about the final presentations for the first year students' Engineering Design 1B projects held on January 16. Engineering Design is the class in which students design solutions for problems within their local community. Students were divided into three groups and given the task of creating a prototype that helped their respective target group. The three targets were the security staff, cleaning staff, and onsen staff. Also, the prototype must be made using LEGO EV3 and biomimicry, which is the method of implementing characteristics of nature or animals into your project. Each group interviewed their target to understand their needs before deciding on what to create.

In the beginning of this semester, the students started by learning how to use LEGO EV3. LEGO EV3 is a robotic kit that you can customize and program. This took several weeks as the students learned how to build the blocks and gears, and program the robot to move as intended. They were given multiple courses that the robots had to complete. There was much trial and error as the students learned the fundamentals of robot programming. The pictures above were taken last October.

These are pictures of students a few days before the final presentation. Students learned how difficult time management is the hard way. All teams had to crunch after school to meet the deadline.

Security Staff Group "Sanitaika"

The security staff group learned from their interview that the guards had trouble noticing when visitors came into the building because they do not have a direct view of the entrance from their office. To solve this problem, the students designed a machine that detects and notifies the guards whenever the automatic doors open. The animal they mimicked was the firefly squid (famous in Toyama prefecture). The machine lights up to tell visitors where to go and also has an automatic hand sanitizer function. The students emphasized in their presentation that the wished to add a "fun element" to liven up the security staff's working environment. In this case, they designed a rotating mechanism that shows a man running through trees of the four seasons each time the sensor detects a visitor.

Cleaning Staff Group "Gommit"

The group that targeted the Hakusanroku Campus cleaning staff concluded from their interview that they should show more gratitude to the cleaning staff and make their jobs more enjoyable. To achieve this, they designed a machine attached to one of the garbage bins. They installed a sensor that detects how many times trash is thrown into the bin and a fan that opens depending on how full the garbage bin is. This fan is the group's biomimicry idea taken from the peacock. This is a visual indication of how full the garbage bin is. However, this is not the only function. When opening the garbage bin to remove the garbage bag, one of three stuffed animals will appear and make a sound. The animals and sounds are random so that the cleaning staff can enjoy this feature each time they use it. 

Onsen Staff Group "EV8"

The final group was the most aesthetically pleasing onsen staff group. Hakusanroku Campus has an onsen facility and this groups goal was to create something that would benefit the staff there. After interviewing the maneger and staff, the group learned that they desired to know if and how much the customers enjoyed their experience. To fulfill this, the group designed a machine that lets customers easily give their feedback. There are four sensors on the front of the base, which represent "Great" to "bad". (they plan to add smiley faces in the final version) Feedback is recorded on a memory card, so the onsen staff can view and keep track of the results. Also, a flower will bloom every five times a customer gives positive feedback. Since this machine will be installed in the onsen, students focused on aesthetics as well. They created two dioramas representing the seasons of Hakusanroku's landscape and gave the whole box a clean look.

All three groups' ideas and prototypes were unique and fascinating. They were well thought out and I could see how they improved their project from their first prototype to the second and final version. This is also why I could not help seeing room for improvement. The presentations were in English, which the Japanese students have still to master. Still, they could have been much better with practice. Also, each team needed to work until the last moment; which was a shame because they were all great! I am definitely planning to use this day as a mental waypoint to look back on and see how much they have grown in the future.


こんにちは、カメラマンのジョナサンです。今日は1月16日に行われた1年生のエンジニアリングデザインIBのプロジェクト最終発表について書きたいと思います。エンジニアリングデザインは学生たちが身の回りの課題を発見し、解決策を創出する授業です。今回は3つのグループに分けられ、それぞれ警備員、清掃員、温泉スタッフの3つの対象に向けた課題解決のプロトタイプ製作を目標としました。プロトタイプはLEGO EV3で作られ、自然界からヒントを得るバイオミミクリーをプロジェクトに取り組まなければなりません。各グループはそれぞれの対象顧客へのインタビューから活動を開始しました。

学期はじめ、1年生はLEGO EV3について勉強しました。LEGO EV3はカスタマイズ性があり、プログラミングで動かすことのできるロボットのキットです。学生たちは数週間かけてブロックの組み合わせ方や意図通りにロボットを動かすプログラミングの練習をしました。複数の課題やコースが用意され、学生たちは試行錯誤しながらクリアしていきました。写真は去年の10月に撮った時の様子です。










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