Waseda University ICT and Robotics

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Waseda University



Visiting period
October 2019 to January 2020
Visiting university
University of Birmingham
Visiting country and region
Birmingham, UK

Content of the study program

With the support from the SGU program, I worked at the research laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Claudio Zito at the University of Birmingham in the UK to conduct a research on soft foldable robotic devices.

Study results

Using a one-armed robot called Sawyer, I conducted research on dynamically folding towels, which are a soft material. This was the first time that I used a robot. It was quite the effort to handle both simulators and the actual machine. Only a few studies have investigated dynamically folding soft materials. Once I began working on the task, I realized its difficulties. I appreciated the friendly research environment where local doctoral candidates provided advice on how to proceed when I was stuck and answered my questions. I also attended weekly lab meetings to report my research and participate in discussions.

My experience abroad

The host of Airbnb was very kind. I had very comfortable stays. I basically cooked on my own, but this was stress-free due to the easy access to Asian food and ingredients. I joined a gym for exercise after school and on holidays. I really felt that the UK is a leading country of fitness where the gyms are outfitted with comprehensive options at a reasonable price. Many people from other countries lived in Birmingham where I stayed. Because each person spoke with a different accent, it was hard for me to understand them. On the other hand, I saw many people respect the value system of others from different cultures as they live side-by-side. I think this is a positive aspect of the UK.

Influence on my future career

Through my study abroad experience, I sincerely understood the importance of communicating in English. I became aware of the need to continue improving my English conversation skills so that I can communicate with foreigners in the future. My three-month stay in the UK boosted my confidence. Overall, my experience was very positive.

Other comments

I deeply appreciate the support of SGU. Because I did not have to worry about the cost of my stay and travel, I could participate fully in the study-abroad program without psychological pressures. Japanese people tend to have problems with the English language. Because many lack confidence in English and hesitate to speak, we tend to create a wall unconsciously. I hope that many Japanese students can study abroad with more accessibility to support systems similar to SGU.