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New Year Issue (Jan.)


Social contribution through science and technology

Producing steady results from "Waseda of Research"

Inspection by MLIT
"Towards prompt realization as a community bus"
Advanced electric microbus "WEB-3" tested in Nagano City; timetable for beginning operation


Minister Hata (left) listens to an explanation from Professor Kamiya (right)

The electric microbus WEB-3 (Waseda advanced Electric micro Bus3) is being tested in Nagano City by Professor Yasuhiro Daisho and Professor Yushi Kamiya of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. A timetable has been set for beginning operation of the bus and an onsite inspection was conducted on September 24th by Yuichiro Hata, the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).

The testing of the electric microbus is being conducted as part of the community-building project "the Ministry of the Environment: Challenge 25." The microbus is operated as the community bus "Gururin-Go" which departs from Nagano Station. Anyone can ride the microbus. Testing is scheduled to continue until the end of fiscal year 2013, which is the ending date for "the Ministry of the Environment: Challenge 25."

Minister Hata observed with great interest the demonstration of wireless overhead power conduction to the electric microbuses from aboveground. Afterwards, Minister Hata rode in the WEB-3 microbus. While sitting next to the driver's seat, he asked questions about the bus's operation directly to Professor Kamiya and the driver. "It was a really quiet and comfortable ride," said Minister Hata when expressing his impression. "I hope that it will promptly begin full-scale operation as a community bus." Waseda University has conducted research in electric microbuses for about 10 years. In the future, our university will continue to perform research activities and social contribution activities in order to realize the spread of electric microbuses.

Capable of charging and discharging more than 7,000 times
Development of new silicon negative-electrode material for lithium storage batteries

ⒸLaboratory of Applied Physical Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University

Professor Tetsuya Osaka and Associate Professor Toshiyuki Monma (Laboratory of Applied Physical Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Engineering) have developed a new silicon negative-electrode material as a lithium storage battery material.

In previous research and development reports, silicon negative-electrodes broke easily due to the expansion and contraction associated with charging and discharging. As such, silicon electrodes were limited to charging and discharging about 100 times. However, the newly developed silicon negative-electrode material has succeeded in preventing such deterioration of the electrode and enables charging and discharging approximately 7,000 times. Through development of a positive-electrode material with an even large capacity is expected to significantly improve the capacity and output of storage batteries. The laboratory seeks to achieve practical application for mobile phones and automobiles in a few years.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
"Program to Promote Joint Education between Universities"
2 projects for 2012 academic year selected from Waseda University

2 projects in which Waseda University participates were selected for the MEXT's (the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) 2012 "Program to Promote Joint Education between Universities" (see table below).

In order to promote future innovation in Japan, this project cultivates professionals with the ability to detect new issues by themselves and to resolve problems through quantitative thought based on data.

Project Name Overview of Cooperation Period Reason/Objective for Project
Ensuring the quality of statistics education for cultivating professionals with the ability to solve problems based on data (1)Development of curriculums
(2)Items for the enhancement of statistics education
(3)Holding of symposiums, etc.
5-year period (2012 to 2016) In order to promote future innovation in Japan, this project cultivates professionals with the ability to detect new issues by themselves and to resolve problems through quantitative thought based on data.
A joint graduate school for cultivating professionals for realizing high-level intelligence in automobiles and robots (1)Joint graduate school Operation of an intelligent car/robotics course
(2)Implementation of joint research and research internships with corporations
(3)Support for employment at automobile/robotics corporations
5-year period (2012 to 2016) In order to cultivate highly-specialized professionals who lead advanced research and development in the automobile and robotics fields, this project expands the range from technical colleges to Master's/Doctoral degree programs and, through close cooperation with the stakeholders Kita-Kyushu City and automobile/robotics corporations, promotes cooperation for practical education program based on practice exercises.
Bio-media art using bacteria
Group exhibition "Bioaesthetics Exhibition" held on Science and Engineer Campus

Exhibition venue for ambitious works

"metaPhorest" is a platform which conducts experiments, research and production for aesthetics and art concerning "life" (bioaesthetics). From October 18th to 27th, the group exhibition "Bioaesthetics Exhibition" was held on Nishi-Waseda Campus by Professor Hideo Iwasaki (Faculty of Science and Engineering), who operates metaPhorest, as well as by 8 groups of researchers and students. This marked the 5th year that the exhibition was held. The 8 groups of residence artists and research members presented a portion of their ambitious results.

"metaPhoresst" was established in the Iwasaki Laboratory in 2007. The platform implements the "Artist in Residence Program," a 1-year program for artists and presenters who possess fundamental interest in the question of "What is life?" Together with scientists, program members share seminars and experimental facilities at laboratories for life sciences research. Members are provided with opportunities to pursue their own research and creative activities. The program is known internationally as a unique cutting-edge venture and attracts great attention.

Towards technological development using communications standards
Waseda University and METI establish the EMS Shinjuku Testing Center

Tape cut at opening ceremony

On November 11th, the Waseda Research Institute of Advanced Network Technology (Director: Professor Yasuhiro Hayashi; Faculty of Science and Engineering) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) established the "Energy Management System (EMS) Shinjuku Testing Center" in Waseda University Research and Development Center (within Building No. 120). The center is the first of its type in Japan to use communications standards in order to conduct optimal energy management and control through mutual linking of low-pressure devices of several different manufacturers. The center also tests connections between smart meters and demand response systems. The center mutually links smart meters, solar cells, electric vehicles, charging/discharging devices for electric vehicles, fuel cells, heat pump hot water devices, air conditioning equipment and storage batteries, conducting optimal control within homes. By doing so, the center is developing technology (peak cut/ peak shift) for real-time control of power within the range of the contract ampere, as well as for automatic control of the amount of power consumed during time periods when electricity rates are high.

Power shortages have been a source of concern since following the Great East Japan Earthquake. This control technology enables easy power saving for homes and buildings equipped with smart meters and Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS), even in cases when power supply and demand has become quite stringent. Consequently, the technology contributes to requests for power saving and helps prevent scheduled blackouts.

A portion of this technology was unveiled at the opening ceremony for the EMS Shinjuku Testing Center. Staff demonstrated peak cut/peak shift technology and real-time display for the amount of power saved.

X-ray analysis research results which overturn the conventional view
Possibility that Great Buddha of Asukadera Temple remains in almost its original form

Background of survey for the Great Buddha of Asukadera

Professor Katsuaki Ohashi (Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences)and others conducted an x-ray analysis survey for the Great Buddha which is the principle object of worship at Asukadera Temple (Asuka Village, Nara Prefecture) and an important cultural asset of Japan. The statue of Buddha was thought to have been built in the Asuka Period but then largely repaired during the Kamakura Period and the Edo Period due to damage from fires. Professor Ohashi's survey revealed that there is very little difference in the metallic composition for bronze used in originally constructed portions (left bridge of the nose, back of the right index finger) and portions which are thought to have been repaired during the Kamakura Period or later (under the nose, left collar, top of left knee) and possibility of the statue having remained almost intact since the Asuka period. A major reason that the Great Buddha of Asukadera Temple has not been designated as a National Treasure is that a large portion was thought to have been repaired in later times. However, these research results are extremely important findings which overturn the conventional view.