Hakusanroku Journal 白山麓ジャーナル

December 20, 2021 Engineering Design IIB Projects

Hi it's Jonathan again! Today I would like to show you the videos of the second year students talking about their Engineering Design projects. As you saw in the previous entry, students at ICT learn to find problems in their surroundings and create solutions to resolve them. The first year students focus on the Hakusanroku Campus, and the second year students take it a step further by moving their attention to the local community. Hakusanroku is a rural area in Ishikawa prefecture with problems you would expect from a village away from major cities; aging and decreasing population to name a few. The students were divided into three groups, each with a different theme.


The "Agri-tech" group focused on the growing problem of damage to crops by wild animals. Hakusanroku is home to wild boars, bears, and MANY monkeys. Locals try to protect their crops from them with electrical fences and fire crackers. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult as they grow older and fewer in number, and because monkeys quickly learn how to avoid their defenses. Seeing this, the Agri-tech group came up with a long term plan to create a automatic defense system against the animal forces. Their goal for this year was to create a system that can detect monkeys in the wild using AI. As you can see in their presentation, they took thousands of pictures of monkeys, which they "fed" to the AI until it could steadily achieved a recognition rate of 65~90%. Since monkey attacks to crops is a nation-wide problem and their are no current known projects working on this topic, this team may be the pioneers on solving a major issue all over Japan. You can read more details about their project here.


The "Agri-business" group turned their eyes to the decreasing population and shrinking economy. Hakusanroku is in a negative spiral, in which younger generations leave for larger cities which in turn leads to less demand and job opportunities for them. The group challenged themselves with designing and operating a business model of growing and selling Hakusanroku branded sweet potatoes. They planted, harvested, packaged and sold their sweet potatoes "Kanjyuku-Beni-Haruka". You can read more about their project here. In their presentation, they went into more detail on how much money they made (or lost) and what changes are necessary to actually create a sustainable business model in Hakusanroku.


Nigyo-Jyorui is a traditional puppet show dating back more that 300 years ago. The people of Higashi-futakuchi district have continued to preform it every year. However, their numbers are also dwindling and they have few young performers that serve as potential successors. You can read about the history of Ningyo-Jyoruri in this article. The group was limited on what they could actually do due to COVID-19, especially because this year's performance was canceled. In there presentation, they explained that after exhausting ideas such as collaborating with popular anime or creating online videos to spread the culture, they finally decided to appeal to the local children of Hakurei Elementary and Junior High School by hosting a doll making event at ICT. In the event, kids could use a 3D scanner and 3D printer to create Nigyo-Jyoruri dolls using their own scanned faces. Potentially, this would benefit both sides by introducing kids to ICT's technology and Ningyo-Jyoruri culture.

This final presentation was a great display of how much the second year students have grown. All their hard work has paid off by increasing not only their technological skills, but teamwork, time management,  presentation skills, and English skills.


You can see their presentations in the videos below. (The first two are in Japanese and last one is in English)












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