Research laboratories, where external project teams conduct cutting-edge research, are located within Miraikan. It is extremely rare to find such research laboratories placed inside a public accessible science museum.
The introduction of ongoing projects
Photoelectric Conversion Project
JST CREST Strategic Basic Research Programs
"Development of Novel Electronic Materials Utilizing Light Element"
Organic semiconductors used in solution-processed organic photovoltaics (OPV) need to fulfill the following requirements: i) strong photoabsorption in the visible and NIR region of the solar spectrum; ii) high stability towards light, heat and air; iii) sufficient solubility to allow solution processing; and iv) strong intermolecular interaction in the solid state for efficient charge transfer. We design and synthesize donor and acceptor materials with these rules in mind, as well as fabricate OPV devices with the goal of achieving high efficiency and low-cost solar cells. In addition, we apply metal oxides that exhibit novel electronic properties in OPV devices, serving as semiconducting interlayers as well as protecting the active layers from air and water degradation.
Department of chemistry, School of Science, The University of Tokyo
Tetsuya HASEGAWA, Yutaka MATSUO
Human Symbiotic Robot Project
"Autonomous mobile robot in human environment"
Recognizing environment is vital function for autonomous mobile robot in human environment. We are studying about embedded intelligent robots witch have many perception/planning/control functions that require real-time operating system. For example, 3D mapping from robot in motion, self-localization and path planning using the map, vision and auditory functions for interaction with environment, semantics understanding from observed surrounding information, and so on. By combining those functions as a real-time system, the robot can autonomously decide its behavior depending on the situation.
Human Informatics Research Institute
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
Displaying 3D Contents into Free Space Project
"True 3D Display"
The mechanism behind the existing 3D display creates a quasi 3D image on 2D space by taking advantage of human binocular disparity. Yet this led to problems such as restriction of eyesight and physiological discomfort. In order to overcome these problems, this project aims to develop a device for "3D display with real imagery" which allows us to view 3D images in a real 3D space.
This device will be able to project 3D images comparable to when high-tech devices appear in science fiction movies by forming dot array in the air while three-dimensionally controlling the focal point of the laser beam which utilizes plasma emission.
Aerial Systems Inc. R&D
Harmonized Inter-Personal Display
JST CREST Project on "Harmonized Inter-Personal Display Based on Position and Direction Control"
This project aims to pioneer a new field of information media technology for providing intuitive understanding and promoting face-to-face communication in everyday living environments and public spaces. It is preferable to access the information world without losing eye-contact while handling daily commodities. It is more desirable to provide personalized information to each user according to their position and direction than to display uniform information to all the people. For this purpose, this project will develop some methods for extending our real world by information technology. Especially, we will focus on the nature of ``spatial interaction,'' ``compatibility,'' and ``openness'' in order to eliminate the physical constraints of display devices, enhance the compatibility between daily commodities and information devices, and activate the face-to-face communication by giving high priority concern to privacy issues.
Professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo
Humanoid robots provide several advantages including being able to work in hazardous environments where humans cannot enter, and being able to utilize its anthropomorphic body to carry out various tasks by making use of environments and tools designed for humans. However, when a robot encounters unforeseen situations, human instruction regarding tool selection or suitable action target, or human intervention for providing guidance is required. In order to be able to adapt to such situations, we have been working on research and development of teleoperated humanoid systems that allow humans to guide the robot's attention and issue commands to help achieve its goals. We have been performing experiments on teleoperating humanoids through ordinary internet connections from locations such as the University of Tokyo Hongo campus for applications ranging from remote assistance for seniors to emergency disaster response.
Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo
Superhuman Sports Project
Superhuman Sports is a new form of "Human-Computer Integration" to overcome somatic and spatial limitation of humanity by merging technology with the body. In Japan, official home of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, we hope to create a future of sports where everyone, strong or weak, young or old, abled or disabled, can play and enjoy playing without being disadvantaged. Technology empowers us to overcome the biological barriers of individuals and of our specie, so we can truly be equal athletes in the arena of super-human sports. But not to make athleticism invalid; like Circus or the extreme games, super human sports aims to push human performance into new peaks.
Professor, Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University / Co-Founder, Superhuman Sports Society
Cyber Living Lab | Embodied Media Project
JST ACCEL Project on "Embodied Media Technology based on Haptic Primary Colors"
In the ACCEL Embodied Media Project, we will develop a compact and integrated tactile sensation transmission module based on the principle of haptic primary colors. By making it widely available to industrial and general users, we promote the early creation of products and services based on the recording, transmission, and reproduction of physical experiences with haptic sensations. We plan to build two demonstration systems: one is an embodied content platform with consideration of practical applications in the fields of broadcasting and entertainment, and the other is an embodied telexistence platform, which enables the emergence of new industries, such as a telework industry using alter-ego robots. We will intend to foster innovations with social and economic impacts through the proposed systems.
Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo / Project Research Fellow, Institute of Gerontology
Associate Professor，Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University
Multisensory Communication Project
KAKENHI Project on "Cultural Differences in Emotion Perception from Face and Voice"
It is important to perceive others' emotion to facilitate successful social interactions. We investigate how human perceive others' emotion from face and voice, and how it is different among cultures. In our earlier study, we found that Japanese people rely more on voice than European people. The current project aims to uncover how emotion perception develops during childhood and how culture shapes our brain. These findings will lead to applications for better cross-cultural communication and a new technology to "translate" emotion between different cultures.
Department of Psychology, Tokyo Woman's Christian University
Mitochondrial Biogenesis Project
"Elucidation of the structural and functional network with mitochondria as a hub"
Elucidation of the mechanism of the control of protein trafficking at mitochondrial membranes
Mitochondria have an essential role in producing cellular energy, like the power plant of the cell. Mitochondrial biogenesis is ensured by the import of constituent proteins and lipids from the cytosol. Recent studies have revealed that mitochondrial structures are highly regulated and they exchange metabolites with other organelles via inter-organelle contacts. In our project, we aim to reveal the entire pictures and regulation mechanisms of the structure and functional networks that generate and maintain mitochondrial dynamic structures, by making a full use of structure biology.
Division of Engineering , Kyoto Sangyo University
Next-generation disease model mouse project / Drug discovery through modification of homeostasis within the body
"Technological development of next-generation disease model mouse for promoting efficiency of drug discovery"
ES chimera mice for conditional gene targeting.
Genetically modified mice are valuable as models of human diseases, and they are currently indispensable analytical tools for the medical research and development of new drugs. It is vital that the gene-targeting mouse of the relevant gene is obtained as soon as possible since it influences the advance in medicine.
Various steps are needed when generating a gene-targeting mouse. It usually takes a long time. Therefore, producing gene-targeting mice in a short period of time using a reliable method is desirable.
We have been developing a method for establishing a conditional gene-targeting mouse rapidly and accurately. We named this system Speed Conditional Gene Targeting (abbreviation: SCOT).
"Novel approach to drug discovery through receptor activity modification"
Bioactive molecules play central roles in the regulation of homeostasis as the method for communication by cells and organs. On the other hand, cells and organs have control system for the information transmitted by the bioactive molecules. In this study, we will clarify the mechanism of homeostasis within the body. We will apply the research results to the drug discovery for lifestyle-related diseases and incurable diseases.
Department of Cardiovascular Research, Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine
Immature Brain Project
MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) "Bidirectional change of maturation status of cells in the brain"
MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas "Comprehensive brain science network"
To date, we have succeeded in identifying mutant mouse lines that exhibit severe behavioral abnormalities related to psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In some of these mutant mice, almost all neurons are arrested at a pseudo-immature state, even at adulthood, in a small region of the brain called the dentate gyrus, which plays an important role in cognitive functions and mood regulation. We named this phenomenon "immature dentate gyrus (iDG)." On the basis of these findings in mice, we confirmed that an iDG-like phenomenon also occurs in the brains of patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The iDG phenotype may underlie some of the symptoms of psychiatric disorders, such as cognitive deficits and hallucination or psychosis. Methods that can induce the maturation of neurons in the iDG might help cure such disorders. In this project, by using those mice, we are trying to elucidate the molecular or neuronal mechanisms underlying the iDG phenotype and to develop new methods for the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Division of Systems Medical Science, Institute for Comprehensive Medical Science, Fujita Health University