Around 50 bachelor and master students in Micro-engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) led by Prof. Hannes Bleuler and Prof. Pierre-André Besse visited the University of Tokyo and Tokyo Institute of Technology as part of a 10-day study tour in Japan.
Japanese professors and students welcomed the Swiss students and took them on a very well-organized tour around the two campuses.
At Tokyo Institute of Technology, EPFL students were introduced to bio-mechanics, electro magnetics, material science and mechanics, kinematics, design-engineering as well as bio signal measurement labs. The students and the professors presented their research fields and demonstrated some experiments.
In the bio-mechanics lab, a student explained how they can use a robot in order to analyze motions performed in the water, for example when swimming. The collected data can then be used to do research on the different muscles of the body and also to improve swimming moves.
In the kinematics lab, students were shown research on the development of parallel mechanisms or parallel robots, which use several arms in order to support a moving frame. It is notably used in the elaboration of human-assisted walking machines, human-powered robotics or even crutches.
Associate Prof. Wataru Hijitaka from the Human Centric Design Lab also drew a lot of interests from the students by showcasing an artificial heart with magnetic levitation, conventional magnetic induction coils as well as a muscle-driven implementable power generator which can be used to supply power to medical implementable devices such as pacemakers.
The Swiss students were really impressed by the scale of the laboratories and by the variety of equipment available for the Japanese students. One of the EPFL students also enthusiastically took part in one experiment involving an eye movement recording device (EOG).
To conclude the tour, students and professors were invited to a networking reception on campus, where the Dean of the Department of Mechanics and Dr. Prof. Yukio Takeda from the Department of Mechanical Engineering welcomed and thanked the students for their visit.
Everyone could enjoy Swiss wine and cheese, as well as Japanese sweets.
Some very brave (and motivated!) Swiss students then decided to end up the day with the ascension of Mt. Fuji, defying jetlag and rainy weather.
The Science & Technology Office Tokyo and EPFL thank Prof. Dr. Yukio Takeda of Tokyo Institute of Technology and Prof. Akio Yamamoto from the Department of Precision Engineering at the University of Tokyo and their teams for the great experience !