Design Academia - 国公立デザイン系大学会議

Chiba University’s Design Course stopped sending and receiving students after the workshop we co-hosted with Seoul National University in January 2020. Some people were optimistic that the coronavirus pandemic would be over in about half a year and that we would resume the same activities as last year. In the discussions with faculty members from other universities, we were motivated to turn the situation into an opportunity. Hence, in June, we decided to hold an online workshop in September. Since then, we have held several international online workshops despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As an example, we would like to introduce the online workshop conducted by the “Plant Environment Innovation Program”, which was adopted as a part of the “Inter-University Exchange Project” in 2016, with Zhejiang University (China) and Yonsei University (Korea) as partner universities. The workshop was held under the theme of “Co-designing with Plants -Human, Machine & Plants” for 9 days from February 18 (Thursday) to 26 (Friday), 2021. Three teams of 18 participants, six from each university, were formed with the goal of acquiring data from actual plants using three sensors (temperature sensor, humidity sensor, and soil moisture sensor) and proposing new services by connecting these data with machine learning.

The workshop itself consisted of an explanation of the task, a basic lecture on plants and machine learning as input, and then each group split up to work in groups using Zoom and Miro. Although this was a very common approach to online workshops, it was a groundbreaking experiment in that each team shared real-time information about a real object, a live plant, with the team using sensors. As a result, we feel that the team puts in more commitment, unlike previous online workshops.

Online is a very convenient tool that allows us to connect freely anytime, anywhere, but in other words, it is a tool of convenience and exists on a layer that is separate from the real world. In this online workshop, a real object, a plant, was brought into the workshop to share the inconveniences. The convenience of the online team was transformed into a real team of inconvenience sharing.

The real world in which we live is made up of many inconveniences. Of course, no one wants to share the inconveniences, but they have to. How can we share our inconveniences online? We believe that this is the key to the future of online communication.

Plants given to each team with sensors installed


Team 3’s Final Proposal,”Plant Soulmate”