The 11th UTokyo Techno-Science café Report2March 24, 2013


On the 24th of March 2013 was held a TechnoScience Café "Engineering Dojo" at the University of Tokyo.  
Numerous elementary school and junior high school students gathered early on that Sunday morning and listened quietly to the speeches of the organizers. After asking a lot of questions, the children followed students of the
Shibata-Mita laboratory to the Takeda building. There, Professor Mita explained to them what he was doing in his laboratory. He also taught them the basics of electronics, and the children were able to understand the principles behind electrical circuits that are hard to understand even for University students. The children were then divided in two teams.


Team A went to visit the Takeda Clean Room, where they were explained what the purpose of a Clean Room was and how it was used. They also went to the Hongo Campus of the University of Tokyo where they could take pictures of famous places such as the Yasuda Auditorium, the Akamon and the Sanshiro pond. After that, they went back to the Takeda Building where they swapped with Team B and started to build an optical system.
After listening carefully to the explanations of professor Mita, they gathered the electrical components and soldered them on two boards. This way, they made both an optical broadcasting device and an optical receiving device. They plugged their music player on their optical broadcasting device and speakers on their optical receiving device. When their favorite music started to play on the speakers, the children had a very large smile: they realized they were able to transmit music by light with devices they made with their own hands. This way, they experienced the greatest joy an engineer can have.


But they were still confronted to one problem: when the broadcasting device and the receiving device are too far from each other, the music can barely be heard. To solve this problem, Professor Mita introduced the optical fiber. When they saw that optical fiber enabled them to dramatically increase the range of their system, the children understood how optical fiber works and what other applications it could have: they fully enjoyed the job of an engineer.
At the laboratory, we were worried that it would be difficult to look
after so many children, but they were all smart and well-mannered. They were also surprisingly good at soldering. We really appreciated to teach them electronics and we were also able to have interesting discussions with their guardians. We are really looking forward to the next session.

Camille Gay (カミーユ ゲ)