With the spread of digital fabrication (Fab), the ability to create has greatly increased and now, those who have grasped Fab have themselves gone beyond tool based, but have the potential of changing to the more conceptual.
The YouFab Global Creative Awards 2016 ceremony set up as an Awards framework and is the fifth one of its kind, trying to redefine the concept of Fab by intersecting the digital and physical and merging with the creative.
The YouFab Global Creative Awards 2016 ceremony was held on March 7th in the Shibuya Hikarie building. We would like to introduce the products that received awards, the comments by the judges, the talk show given by the judges in the second half of the event.
(Written by Mirei Takahashi)
The winners selected from 196 participants gathered from Japan and all over the world!
The ceremony’s opening remarks were given by the YouFab Global Creative Awards chairman Toshiya Fukuda. In his remarks, he mentioned he had a debate with the head judge Mr. Tanaka, “the concept of Fab as connected to the process of changing a product or matter made from the digital to the physical, and that there is value in how much creativity is born from that process.” That is, in a time when digital is commonplace in our lifestyles in all forms of communication, it is connected to the question of how we ourselves can adapt. He continued saying, “This time, we had many different people enter the competition, including selecting in the following way which allowed the participants to enter freely. We look forward to new challengers in the future.”
The finalists were selected and, winners of the student category and general category received certificates, the grand prizewinner and the runner up received certificates and trophies.
The runner up to the grand prize "Interfering Floating Bodies" has a camera with a sensor that sensed bubbles, sound and pictures together. One of the judges, Ms. Yukiko Shikata commented that the “Interfering Floating Bodies” had nature had technology, it was digital, it had various things combined together, matching perfectly with the theme for this year.
The “Interfering Floating Bodies” were created by a group of 6 people from different specializations. The engineer for this project, Masaru Mizuochi, stated, “We used digital in this product, in creating the physical it was creating the principle and at the same time it was creating a new media.” Mafumi Hishida, who usually researches biological membranes at a university, was in charge of the concept. He explained the intent of the piece, “We created this product because, like bubbles, we wanted to make visible the hidden beauty of nature. We hope that this piece will be a catalyst in moving people to recognizing the beauty of nature which surrounds us.”
The OTON GLASS won the grand prize. The OTON GLASS started as a tool to support the creator’s family member who had dyslexia from strokes but during research in developing the product, a new need and intent evolved.
Hiroya Tanaka commented on this product.“OTON GLASS started because I wanted to help my father. Mr. Shimakage (creator of OTON GLASS) realized that there are many people around the world suffering from dyslexia through this project. This product started as a personal story but by discovering a societal issue there was a leap in him. Furthermore, through this process colleagues who specialize in various fields gathered. What won it for the OTON GLASS was because there was a never before type of creativity in the product. It was different from the creativity of the individual, and you cannot say it is the collectiveness of the team. I was attracted to that place which continues as the flexibility for both. "
In addition, Manabu Kawada, the judge for the Yamaha Award commented, “Good idea and a prototype sets a fire on the imagination. In the explanation video for the OTON GLASS at the instant, the facial expression of the person who has experienced the OTON GLASS is shown the technician or designer’s imagination expands. It was a product that turned on the switch with a click on the theme for the Yamaha award ‘Emotional Switch.’”
At the presentation while receiving the award, OTON GLASS spokesperson Shimakage spoke about the outlook into the future. “As we moved forward in our development, we met people who had acquired dyslexia and those who were born with dyslexia, and right now we are pressing forward for these people in developing the OTON GLASS. In addition, we have foreigners who have joined in the project interested in using it as a translator and those whose eye sights do not improve even with eyeglasses. We have worked with them starting from scratch; we have made a new prototype. We want to make reality a world where anyone can read; from now on, we need to commercialize the product, raise funds and prepare for development, and increase the sales numbers. The judges for YouFab have organized this event in gathering this wild community of inventors, and commented on our product more than any other competition. Also, I felt from the comments we received that there is high expectation on us in creating a product going beyond the norm. In order to answer that call, we want to continue in what we think as Fab. Thank you very much.”
At YouFab 2016, we saw a diversity of winning products and growing scene of Fab
In the second half of the event, there was a discussion with the judges. Those on the stage were Mr. Hiroya Tanaka, Ms. Yukiko Shikata, and Mr. Manabu Kawada. The moderator was Mr. Toshiya Fukuda.
The lead judge for YouFab 2016, Mr. Tanaka, commented, “Many of the winners were those whose products were hard to categorize.” Ms. Shikata also commented on the diversity of the winning products and the expanded scene of Fab. She raised a concern stating, “But, I felt that there weren’t many art hacks, rather than hacks there were refined designs and systems, there were many social products. I think the future issue will be about what we do about hacking the more primitive parts and the gap created in the refined Fab.”
Mr. Fukuda commented, “Even as the ‘Interfering Floating Bodies’ set an example that Fab supports the recognition of the imagination and the changing into the physical, Fab may possibly acts as a bridge between art and science. Something new was born by exchanging feedback among members whose specializations differed greatly in art and scientific technology.”
The product that caught the attention of the judges other than the top winners was material that can be felt by human hands. For example, the “Coffee Coffee Bar” Mr. Tanaka picked up uses the Coffee grounds as material for 3D printing making a café area, thus redefining the position of hacking.
In addition, Mr. Kawada pointed out that “The World’s First Analog 3D Printer” prints by gravity. “It’s not just a tool to use, it’s more like a musical instrument, but is a joy going beyond being user friendly but was evaluated once again for being closer to human beings.”
YouFab 2016 invited participants through competition using the phrase “creativity in merging the digital and physical” as keywords. As background, the head judge Mr. Tanaka showed as a teacher managing Keio SFC Fab campus course.
Mr. Tanaka made the following statement, “Keio SFC is Japan’s first internet campus. At the time, we had a dream of using digital technology to breakdown the old structure of society and creating a new societal structure. At present that dream has been mostly realized, but the students entering university this year were born in 1999, and they do not have concept of digitization that we had. As a result of thinking about a theme which is shared between different generations, we came up with a theme which links both the digital and physical.”
Fab going towards a turning point due to a diversity of movements
What type of future awaits Fab? Ms. Shikata points out that from now on it is important that Fab is clear and to rediscover the knowledge of the world forgotten by those in the present, it is time to reflect on the technology and material before the digital era. For example, Japan’s paper technology is like that and reviewing the people’s activities, technology, handcraft, materials born of various lands and ecosystems, and nearly forgotten network of rivers and seas, the Matagi community which lives in the mountains. Furthermore, the art and scientific technology that is newly connected, the next creation is thus born.
For the outlook into next years of YouFab Global Creative Awards, Mr. Tanaka says ideally all of the experimental products will be invited being made around the world at Fab sites.“Not the competition’s theme taking the lead but we need to let the reality of what is going on around the world Fab take the lead. Within that framework, we will be stimulating the effective movements with an edge, being able to debate the participant products that are gathered. Our job will be to create the most brilliant concepts.”
Going away from the tool base which represents 3D printers and laser cutters but what aspect will Fab show when meeting those points is much more conceptual and of diverse movements. We will not be able to keep the eyes off in the future.