Content of the study program
Using Sawyer, a single-arm robot at the University of Manchester, I conducted preparation experiments on the physical interaction force between humans and robots.
I moved a robotic arm manually and obtained time-series angular data of joints to allow learning of three movement patterns. Then I activated neural networks to learn, installed the learned model in a robot, and conducted preparation experiments for upcoming human-robot interactions. Since I had no prior experience with robots, it was invaluable to having experienced data collection, machine learning, and generating movements of a robot by applying the learned model. I can apply this experience to future research. It was a great experience to briefly explain my research in English to other people at the lab and attend a symposium to listen to a variety of research presentations.
My experience abroad
I have always lived with my parents. This was my first experience of not only living abroad but also living alone. At first, I was overwhelmingly anxious and lonely. However, the kindness of the people at the lab and other places compensated for such feelings. Although I came to the UK, I didn’t get acquainted with many British people. The majority of people that I met were students from abroad. Someone at the lab told me that because there are so many students from abroad, they all understand the loneliness and difficulties students from abroad feel, and there is no need to worry. These words made me feel relieved. I had lunch with people every day, played table soccer, and even attended a Christmas party of the department as it was the Christmas season. I also went to a tree lighting event and ate chocolate from my advent calendar every day. I experienced a lot of memorable moments. I also attended a local Japanese festival, and was surprised to learn that many people are interested in learning about Japan. I rediscovered the beauty of Japanese culture. I also traveled to a few cities on weekends such as Edinburgh and London. These trips provided fond memories. Throughout my three-month stay in the UK, I felt the warmth of people, including those outside the lab such as shopkeepers, the people I met during my trips, and my roommates.
Influence on my future career
I had opportunities to meet people of diverse nationalities in the program. This experience made me want to learn more about the world. Interacting with people from other countries made me realize how ignorant I am of the Japanese culture. I felt quite ashamed. In the future, I want to be able to explain more about Japan to people from abroad. Although I didn’t have much faith in my English skills at first, this living abroad experience helped me gain confidence. In the future, I will actively challenge myself to consider a job that involves communicating with people around the world.
I deeply appreciate the opportunity to have such a valuable experience, and am very grateful to those who supported me in the process.