Graduate students talking
about system design

Miyuki Kamatani1st year in Keio University Graduate School,
majoring in Comprehensive Design Engineering,
Science and Technology Graduate Course

You will definitely be able to find what you like to do.

ーWhat is your major?
I’m majoring in Robotics.

ーWhat do you actually make?
It’s like a wheelchair, just like a Segway that is equipped with two wheels. I’m involved in the stability control of such a wheelchair.

ーWhat would be possible?
If I could actually make one, elderly or handicapped people can ride on such a wheelchair. I’m studying continuously to make it feasible.

ーDid you want to study this when you were first enrolled in the college?
No, to be honest, it was not the case at all. I was rather interested in the architectural field. As I was taking classes of various fields, I grew my interest in robotics, and this is how I decided to do my current research.

ーSince you were in high school, did you have a strong interest in Science and Engineering?
When I was in high school, I liked Mathematics very much. Since then, I knew that I was going to go for the science course.

ーWhat type of people do you think would be suitable for Design Engineering?
Personally, I think that those who are interested in a wide variety of fields.

ーWhen you say, “a wide variety”, it means those people will learn many kinds of things.
I think so. Prerequisite subjects include a wide variety of fields in their sophomore year, so they may be suitable for those who are interested in everything.

ー-As students goes up to the next grade in college, their major will be diversified. I have heard that System Design Engineering Department encourages to communicate/cooperate in researching. Are there any actual cases that the students get help from other students who are majoring in different studies?
The laboratory I belong to does not apply, but there are cases that when a student wants a sensor for what s/he makes, s/he would personally ask other students who belong to a laboratory that researches on sensors. These kind of connections are relatively well-utilized in the Department.

ーI have visited several Laboratories and found that college seniors and graduate students research together in the same laboratory. Is it because there is a tradition that graduate students train college seniors?
Just like my laboratory, graduate students in their 1st year teach college seniors. The basics of robot control and ways to give a presentation on research developments, these kinds of things are mainly taught by graduate students.

ーDo graduate students and undergraduate students get along?
Yes, they get along very well.

ーDo they meet outside the laboratory often?
Well, since I joined the Laboratory, the members were in their senior year in their Department, the first year and the second year in graduate school, so classmates within the Laboratory get along with one another regardless of their grades.

ーThe research you are working on is something you work on with your professor?
During regular experiments and when we operate a robot, only a professor and students work together.

ーHow are communications between professors and their students?
I usually communicate with my professor in a way that I receive advice when I get stuck in my research or report on data I get.

ーIs research, currently in process that does not necessary belong to someone, are they rather inherited to others?
Yes, in my case, it is a wheelchair. The wheelchair was made by other students who graduated few years ago, and since I wanted it to be my research theme, I took it over and have been working on it. I am trying to put together information with different angels and also looking into an option of modifying actual equipment.

ーI would like to ask you what the campus is like. What is your day like?
It depends on the day, but for example, when I have classes in the morning, I go to the classes before I go to the Laboratory. From then to evening or night, I spend all my time at the Laboratory.

ーHow long do you stay in the laboratory?
It depends on the day, but when I stay late, I would stay until around 11pm.

ーThat’s pretty late. You seem to put a lot of passion into it. Do you enjoy what you do?
When things are not going well, I feel like I want to give up, but when I get results or my presentation is recognized, I feel truly happy.

ーWhat makes you feel the most satisfied while studying?
That’s is, of course, when my experiment is a success. When I was able to get some data that I feel would work, I feel extremely happy.

ーYour experiment is not based on your assumption that it will work?
Based on a simulation, I could assume that it would work up to a certain point, but when I actually run a program on a robot, often times, it does not work. I spend a lot of time trying to find each and every reason why it does not work.

ーWhen I interviewed the professor the other day, I was told that students in this Department are good at turning on and off their switches. How do you turn on and off your switch?
When I am off from school, I do it naturally, but when I am on, that is when I really try. Once I decide to do something, I am a type of person who goes straight to the laboratory and get wrapped up without thinking about time.

ーDo you think there are many students like you?
Yes, I think there are students like that in my Laboratory.

ーIs there anything particular that you would like to be in the future, or a goal you may have in particular?
I have not yet decided in which field I would like to get a job, but I would like to get a job that I can work for a long time and allows me to utilize my abilities I gained through my research, that is to establish a goal and make an effort to reach it.

ーHow would you describe what System Design Engineering is in 1 word?
The Department allows to learn a wide variety of fields while establishing my expertise.

ーLastly, any advice to high school students who want to enroll in the System Design Engineering Department?
Again, System Design Engineering Department offers a wide variety of fields, so you will definitely be able to find what you like to do.

Masahiro Kobayashi1st year in Keio University Graduate School, majoring in Comprehensive Design Engineering, Science and Technology Graduate Course

To be an Engineer of the next generation.

ーWhat is your major?
I’m majoring in Control Engineering, which is mainly about controlling a robot of which the shape is similar to a human arm. I research on making those arms on desired trajectories as well as a robot that can interact with people so that it can be used for the nursing field.

ーHow can it be used actually?
Currently, there is nothing really that has been made for practical use at this point, but I am trying to make a robot that can be used in the nursing and welfare fields. Since the robot will have contacts with people, hard materials cannot be used, and I need to make it safe to prevent injuries. So, this Laboratory researches on making a safe and stable robot.

ーWhat is your goal in your study?
I am currently in a process of searching, but it is called, “bilateral control”, which is a study on a remote control system using something similar to 2 robot arms. This remote control system is expected to be used for telesurgery and work in outer space.

ーWhere do you present a deliverable presentation of such study?
In my Laboratory, we have interim presentations several times a year. For the presentations, we form groups with 5 other Laboratories that do similar research. We give presentations in front of our professors in English and receive feedback to apply to our next research. Of course, there are cases that we submit a thesis to academic conferences both in and outside the country.

ーWhat is your dream?
I am still searching for a particular dream, but I want to get involved in the field of manufacturing in Japan. If possible, I want to be a researcher and utilize technology for society.

ーThe other day, when I interviewed Professor Taguchi, he said that there are many of his students are good at turning on and off their switch. How about yourself?
I like sports very much, and I used to play volleyball during my high school years. I still take the P.E class on Hiyoshi campus once a week, working out with students.

ーWhen you are in school, is researching all you do.
That’s right. So, like I said earlier, I really look forward to sweating at the P.E class at Hiyoshi once a week.

ーDid you study Engineering when you were in high school?
No, I went to an ordinary course in high school.

ーSo, you are saying that you didn’t study only about science?
That’s right, but my focus of study was physics, so I knew that I was going to take the science course.

ーOut of so many choices in the science course, what made you want to choose this particular study?
In my case, I researched on laboratories.
When I thought about being in my senior year and which laboratory to join, I thought that I wanted to make a robot because I always liked make things. After doing some research, I found the laboratory of Professor Murakami interesting, so I chose the System Design Engineering Department.

ーWhat type of students are suitable for this course?
Of course, it makes sense if someone like me originally wanted to join this Laboratory. However, this course may be more suitable for those who have not decided which course to take or do not know what research to do in the future. The System Design Engineering Department allows to learn about a wide variety of fields such as Thermo Fluid, Architecture, Control Engineering and Computer Science, so it gives an advantage for students to learn about a wide variety of fields before deciding on their major.

ーWhat makes you feel the most satisfied while studying?
In this type of research field, unless experimental results are shown, it will be a theory without evidence to back it up. There will be no theory without experiments. When I perform research on a robot, depending on a parameter adjustment, it gets out of control, which is called emission. So, I need to continue making a persistent effort in unspectacular work. When the robot runs the way I wanted, I am very happy and feel the most satisfied.

ーHow would you describe what System Design Engineering is in 1 word?
That’s a difficult question (lol). Let’s put it this way. It’s a study to train engineers who can survive in the next generation.

ーLastly, any advice to high school students who want to enroll in System Design Engineering?
For those who are in high school, it may be hard to decide what to be in the future just yet, but System Design Engineering is full of various potentials. I strongly recommend that you enroll in the System Design Engineering Department. Thank you very much.