TECH PARK | 福岡市 天神にある、テクノロジーと遊ぶアフタースクール(学童保育)



3D Fab Contest Special Prize Winner!

Yusei Ono, a first-year junior high school student and TECH PARK member, recently won a special prize in the “Musical Instruments of the Future” category of the 3D Fab Contest 2017! I’m very excited to write today’s blog entry!

As someone who supported Yusei in his application, I’ll be writing this post about the process from creating the work through winning his prize.

It starts with interest

Yusei first expressed interest in entering this contest around the end of his summer break. Up until then, Yusei had mostly challenged himself at TECH PARK with programming and various other activities. TECH PARK is equipped with a 3D printer and 3D modeling software, but having focused mainly on programming, Yusei didn’t have much knowledge or experience working with 3D.

So why did he decide he wanted to enter this contest? It seems that he was intrigued with the question, “what would a musical instrument of the future be like?”

Giving shape to an idea

“Musical instruments of the future” is a very interesting theme because there’s no correct answer. What does it look like? What kind of sound does it make? I threw all kinds of questions at Yusei to help him give shape to his ideas as he brainstormed.

From there, Yusei thought, “DJs are kinda futuristic and cool,” and decided to develop his musical instrument from that idea. The next step is to start sketching out the idea.

This step is very important when you’ve decided that you want to create something from an idea.

When you try to sketch out an idea, you have to think about the parts you kinda felt were “interesting” or “kinda cool” with logically, otherwise the sketch will fall apart. For example, you couldn’t sketch a 1㎥ box that can fit a 100㎥ ball inside of it.

So Yusei had to work on making his idea feasible. Through repeated trial and error, he was able to successfully create a sketch of an instrument that you play by spinning a round disc.

The joy of bringing your idea to life

Once Yusei had a concrete image, the rest was easy. I just needed to support him in gaining the required knowledge for things like using 3D modeling software (in this case, Fusion 360), the 3D printer, and electronic circuits. TECH PARK is well equipped with materials and staff for those things.

Actually, many people probably think that this is the most important step, but I think what’s really important is to bring out interest in something and really delve into that interest.

We design out activities first with a focus on drawing out the children’s interest, before thinking about methodology.

From an interest in trying to do something, and with the knowledge that he gained, Yusei was able to create an actual musical instrument that he could hold in his hands.

Modeling in Fusion 360 made very carefully based on the sketches.

We taught Yusei how to configure and use the 3D printer by himself.

Although we helped a bit with designing the electronic circuits and programming, Yusei did most of the work by himself.

The importance of being recognized

A while after sending in the entry, we were surprised when we saw the mail saying that Yusei had won an award. That’s because the instruments of the future category that Yusei had entered was for junior high through high school students. Yusei didn’t think he could possibly win a prize, considering his comparative lack of knowledge and experience, so he was especially happy when he saw he had won.

I was impressed at the awards ceremony to see Yusei, usually a self-proclaimed shy person, talking happily with the other winners. Of course, being at an exciting place like an awards ceremony may have had something to do with it, but I think the biggest reason for his talkativeness was that he felt like his thoughts and ideas were being acknowledged.

It’s very rare and lucky to win an award like this, but acknowledging ideas is something we can do every day without the need of a special occasion. Instead of giving up, we need to acknowledge thoughts and ideas in an equal relationship. By doing that, this event reminded me that kids can have more free ideas and thoughts of their own.

Congratulations, Yusei! Let’s keep having fun together.

You can read more about the details of Yusei’s project from his page here: