School of Art, Media, and Technology

A Look Back at Parsons BFA DT + Smart Craft Studio 2017, Hida, Japan

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On May 28th, Smart Craft Studio 2017 at Fabcafe in Hilda, Japan, welcomed Parsons Design and Technology students, as well as twenty other international students from schools in Toronto, Taipei and Hong Kong, for an annual 23 day intense design camp. Take a walk in the footsteps of Parsons students who completed the unforgettable 23 day design studio experience in Hilda, Japan!

The topic for the Designer-in-residence program at FabCafe was “Animating Craft”.

Smart Craft Studio is a 3-week intensive design prototyping program happening annually at Fabcafe Hida, beginning May 28th. The goal of this program is to integrate traditional Japanese woodworking techniques with smart and human-centered technology.

This year, the studio explored radical ways to create meaningful interactions between human and human-made objects through woodworking, sensory processing, and cognitive artificial intelligence (A.I.) in the context of art and design. Participating students had a thorough introduction to wood harvesting process, learn hands-on lessons on Hida’s traditional kumiki (wood joinery) technique from local master craftsmen, learn to prototype with open source and modular Internet of Things (IoT) hardware, and experiment with a new type of A.I. with the ability to generate new user insights from live sensory data.

The Smart Craft Studio team works with world-class designers and design technologists to create technology workshops for artists and designers. The goal is to minimize the amount of technical hurdles so artists and designers can get to the creative part quicker and smoother. We are achieving this with a motivation-driven learning environment, experienced design tech instructors, detailed documentations and instructions, pre-programmed code templates, modular IoT prototyping tools, and on-site technology staff.

Parsons students worked in teams to build prototypes and each team presented functional prototypes at the end of the 3-week program.

The studio aims to assemble teams from different design disciplines including fashion, product design, interactive media, and architecture. The program was conducted primarily in English with translation from Japanese.

In addition to an unforgettable academic experience, Parsons students forged lasting bonds with the local community while enjoying incredible hospitality and the immensely beautiful surroundings of Hilda, Japan.


Please read more about Smart Craft Studio 2017 from their English blog !

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