I have some good news for everyone interested in state-of-the-art technology such as robots, AI (artificial intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things) and so on. There is a facility in Tokyo where you can discover about Japan’s cutting-edge technology and learn more about our future together with your children for free. That is “TEPIA”!
The TEPIA Advanced Technology Gallery is located near the “New National Stadium”, which is currently under construction for the Olympic Games that will take place in 2020. TEPIA is surrounded by one of the biggest baseball and rugby stadiums. The entrance fee is free – which is great, especially for families with children. They also provide English audio guides for free.
Right in the center of the entrance hall, you’ll see a huge screen showing people standing in front of it. Well, that’s kind of normal… But this screen, in particular, is connected to a computer programmed to analyze the shape of a person’s face. According to the result, the display will show the gender and age of the person on screen. The results were surprisingly accurate… amazing!
The exhibition space is divided into domains of social issues, such as “aging society”, “declining population due to declining birthrate” and “future living”. In each section, the displays try to show ways to improve the situation by using IoT, robots, artificial intelligence, and other advanced technologies.
For example, they had a computer that can measure your heart rate and degree of stress simply by standing in front of a screen. They also had an electric rollator (= mobility aid for elderly people) that would power assist you when walking up a slope and automatically brake when walking down a slope (or even letting go of the handle). You can actually try out all of these devices.
One of our most favorite devices was the “Manga Generator”. It’s a photo booth where you can create a manga by taking photos of you and your friends.
Hands-on computer programming
However, the highlight of TEPIA is the “programming experience area” that has just opened as a permanent exhibition this spring. It’s amazing!!
Here, you can try to program various robots and drones depending on your age and experience.
The target age is mainly from elementary to high school students, but even adults like us turned into kids again: There was a hands-on corner programming the flight route of a small drone. You had to make it fly from one place to another. Sounds easy? Well… the three of us felt like scientists trying to accomplish an important mission. We had to retry many times to actually make the drone fly. After completing our mission, we were cheering like little kids 🙂
For parents with children, it’s the perfect place to go. You can spend hours playing and programming at TEPIA.
Also, they have 3D printer and robot classes held in Japanese. TEPIA is a great place to go, not only on rainy days but also if you want to do something different from visiting shrines and temples… It’s a really fun and wonderful facility for the whole family!
By the way, there will be some events for children during the “Golden Week”.
For details click here: https://www.tepia.jp/exhibition/event/2018gw (Japanese)
Duration: Saturday, April 28, 2018 – Sunday, May 6, 2018 (May 1 will be closed)
TEPIA Advanced Technology Gallery
2-8-44, Kita Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Access: 4 minutes on foot from Exit 3 of Gaienmae Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)
Opening hours: 10: 00 ~ 18: 00
Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 10: 00 to 17: 00
Closed on Mondays (But open in case of a public holiday. In that case, TEPIA will be closed the following weekday)