Technology for Human Life and Neuroscience
In order to provide safe, secure, healthy and comfortable living in a sustainable society, it is important to understand the interactive relationships between people and the adequate products or/and the living environment. We develop technologies that comply with various human functions, neurophysiological systems, and biomedical properties, by integrating relevant knowledge with data acquisition and analysis.
We focus on the following areas: (1) measurement and assessment of cognitive function, (2) psycho-physiological adaptability to environmental change, (3) recovery or substitution of lost abilities, and (4) technology to facilitate independence for the elderly and disabled. We also contribute to support Japanese Industrial Standards / International Standards, and to build the guidelines for designing industrial products and assistive medical devices.
New projects are forthcoming, including neuro-rehabilitation technology based on neurological mechanisms, communication technology via direct connection between brain and machine (brain-machine interface), and fundamental technology to connect medical devices to clinical information networks (IoT, Internet of Things).
Digital Human Engineering
Digital human engineering is the collective term of interface technology for bridging the real living space to the informative cyber space, where is full of helpful information. Digital human research in HIRI aims to change humans’ behavior by providing the appropriate products and services for the final goal, building a healthier and safer society. For this purpose, human function models have been built in various levels; sensation, body shape, behavior, and community. We tend to intervene in the people for a better life through the researches of “effective intervention methods to users based on the partial/rough measurement and database” coming from “a large scale data collection methods utilizing the deep and accurate database” starting with “modeling methods based on small but accurate measurements within a laboratory”. Not only a sense stimulating intervention that immediately changes human behavior, but also an intervention with using the thoroughly-designed products/services changes the personal quality of life, and to be lead to the whole community in a long term. To drive such intervention persistently in the society, collaboration with industry and (local) government is necessary. HIRI aims to establish digital human technology by solving the problems on modeling, measurement, and intervention with such collaborators.
The aim of service engineering is to improve the efficiency of service industry and to innovate new varieties of services, where 70 % of Japanese economy as measured in GDP and employment is already related with service industry. The demand to service has been increasing on the background of social structure change such as decreasing birthrate and growing proportion of elderly people, promotion of new industries such as sight-seeing and urban surveillance, out-sourcing of company operations, and shift towards services in manufacturing industry. Our institute provides a model of the service?shifting and a way to solve the efficiency and innovation. Our approach is to run the “optimum cycle of service design,” that consists of hypothesis based on data, hypothesis verification, design and re-design of services. Human and surrounding environment is the essential part in the service modeling. The optimum cycle of service design is carried out by observing human, environment, and service process in real scenes, analyzing the obtained data, verifying the efficiency and functionality by simulation, and applying the services to the real scenes. We put emphasis on the collaboration with companies, local government, and several kinds of organization.