Lab rotations: Students gain practical research experience in other fields

October 18, 2013 Osaka University

Building the foundations for future interdisciplinary research

act20131107_1The Humanware Innovation Program operates lab rotations to give students hands-on experience of research work in different fields. Students form groups of three, including at least one member from a different graduate school, and spend time working in each other’s labs. The rotations are designed to equip students with applied skills in different areas of specialization and facilitate future interdisciplinary research projects. Through the experience of inviting others to their labs and explaining their work directly rather than relying on instructors to do so, students also develop two-way skills as both providers and recipients of knowledge. One example of this process in practice is given below.

Gaining inspiration from work in another research lab

Participating students (L-R): Kenji Urai, Hirofumi Shin from Professor Hosoda’s lab, Yuta Tsuchizaw

Participating students (L-R): Kenji Urai, Hirofumi Shin from Professor Hosoda’s lab, Yuta Tsuchizaw

On October 18, two HWIP students visited Professor Hosoda’s Human Interface Engineering lab in the Multimedia Engineering Department, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology. The two students were Kenji Urai from the Graduate School of Engineering Science and Yuta Tsuchizawa from the Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences. In the morning session they listened to fellow HWIP student and member of Professor Hosoda’s lab, Hirofumi Shin, explain his research on robotic movement. In the afternoon, they attended a seminar class and participated in a discussion based on student presentations.

Mr. Tsuchizawa, whose own research is on cells, took a great interest in the proceedings, saying, “I’m sure I’ll learn something useful from the way they operate robots here.” Mr. Tsuchizawa’s interest comes as no surprise: Like most graduate students, he has few opportunities to visit other research labs, and even fewer chances to attend their in-house seminar classes. His field of cell research is certainly very different from that of robotics, but in line with the aims of the Humanware Innovation Program, he and other students look forward to opportunities to engage closely with research outside their own discipline. Mr. Tsuchizawa is still in his first year of HWIP but is already interacting regularly with colleagues working in other areas. He is sure to have gained a lot from this lab visit.