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St Paul’s Japan STEM Tour opens a world of possibilities

Date: July 10, 2018

Eight students from St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School have recently returned from a nine day exciting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) tour in Japan which has opened their eyes to some of the world’s latest and most cutting edge science and technology.

This is the first year St Paul’s has introduced the Japan STEM Tour and students had the opportunity to visit some of the world’s leading organisations immersed in STEM related fields such as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), where they were shown a training facility where prospective astronauts are trialled in isolation and air pressure chambers.

At the Kawasaki Robostage in Odaiba they learnt how robots are used in conjunction with Virtual Reality rides, and also how robots can interpret a photo of a face and then draw the face with pen and paper.

At Cyberdyne Studio, developers of the world‘s first cyborg-type robot “HAL” (Hybrid Assistive Limb) students were immersed in the intersection of technology and medicine.  By experimenting with parts of a HAL suit, they felt first-hand how the exoskeleton utilises bioelectrical signals to control robotic limbs and aid movement.

At Honda Robotics the students were excited to meet with ASIMO, a humanoid robot and they learnt about its development.

They learnt about the latest technology in motoring at Toyota Head Quarters, had coffee made and served by a robot barista at the Henna Café in Tokyo and also visited amusement park Fuji-Q Highland located in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi which contains famous attractions that have held world records for speed, height and steepness.

They took the bullet train (Shinkansen) to Nagoya to visit the famous Nagoya City Science Museum with an array of technological and mechanical exhibits as well as space exploration and a nine metre tall artificial tornado.  Year 12 student Reuben Neumair described the museum as “seven floors of fantastic exhibits most of which were interactive and all of which were fascinating”.

Other adventures in STEM included visits to Panasonic, Fuji TV and the World’s Largest Planetarium.

Year 12 student Cameron Wong said “Overall, the Japan STEM tour was a great trip that I will always remember – it really showcased the international reach of the STEM industry and I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to go!”

The St Paul’s Japan STEM Tour differs from the St Paul’s Japan Language and Cultural Tour in that students have a specific interest in STEM fields.

The tour has provided these students with a broad range of STEM ideas and knowledge that they will take with them in future STEM based careers. Year 11 student Aditya Kerhalkar said “This trip has changed all of us: our minds have certainly been enlightened, with a different view of the world, and a different view of the future of the world’s technology”.