Hiroya Tanaka, Keio University
Two years have passed since I set up the very first FabLab in Japan. FabLab Kamakura is located in Kamakura City, the old capital and one of historical areas in Japan. There are still lots of temples and shrines, craftsmen and artisans, small workshops of local fab. In collaboration with them, FabLab Kamakura is trying to explore alternative future(s) of Digital Fabrication, especially about Machines with cultural contexts.
Through our field research (especially interviews), we reconfirmed that craftsmen and artisans have great skills on controlling tools as a part of their body, and they often say “there is no boundary between hands and tools”. Through our surveys on recent Digital Fabrication technologies, “Robot Arm” have great potentials to be the next versatile fabrication tool. On the verge where those two contexts crossed, we kicked off our first project called “THE HAND” and set up the “cultural machines group” in Social Fabriction Center, Keio University SFC.
Simply saying, “THE HAND” is a pair of desktop-sized robot arm. At the current stage, we try to input the essence of motions which craftsmen are performing subconsciously. But not limited to that, I believe this device contains lots of potentials for HCI design. I want to share some of my ideas and discuss topics as follows: Interaction design for Fab Machines, How to apply cultural contexts to technical (machine) development, How we can learn from craftsmen and artisans.