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Sony Science Program for Girls at the Ochanomizu University SCIENCE FESTIVAL

A workshop was held at Ochanomizu University for female junior high and high school students

On August 31, the Sony Science Program for Girls was held at the Science Festival at Ochanomizu University. This program is targeted at female junior high and high school students, and provides them with an opportunity to experience the enjoyment of Monozukuri while interacting with female engineers who work at Sony. This program has been designed with the objective of getting these young students to take an interest in engineering as a potential future occupation. On this occasion, staff from Sony/Taiyo Corporation (*1) also participated as assistant lecturers at the Inclusion Workshop. We hope that our participants on the day were able to deepen their understanding of diversity & inclusion (*2) by experiencing Monozukuri together, regardless of whether or not they have a disability. Let's take a look at some of the scenes from the workshop that day.

*1: Sony/Taiyo Corporation is a special subsidiary company of Sony Corporation, where sixty percent of the employees are physically or mentally challenged in some way. Their plant performs all stages of production, from the design phase through to the manufacture and after-sales service of microphones and other small devices in Japan. Incorporating a wide range of universal design ideas, from equipment through to various systems, the company has successfully created an environment in which anyone can work in the same way, regardless of whether they have a disability.
*2: Respecting the individual differences between each person as part of their unique character, and the ability to create new concepts through a lively mutual exchange of ideas.

Overview of the workshop

  • Theme of the workshop Handmade experiments in optical communications Navigator Yushin Sato-san Sony/Taiyo Corporation Creating their very own optical communications devices using electronic circuits and substrates. Investigating light characteristics and mechanisms for optical communications by creating a device that uses light to send and receive sound.

1. Learning to solder

In creating their optical communications devices, the students began by practicing how to solder under the guidance of the staff. For many of the students, it was their first experience with soldering.

2. Making the substrate

Next, they were ready to begin making the body of their device. They began by cutting copper sheets using a paper pattern as a guide, and then attached the copper to two kinds of substrate: the transmitter and the receiver.

3. Soldering the electronic components

Following their circuit diagrams, the students next soldered various components, such as resistors, transistors, and capacitors, to their substrates. Everyone was intently focused on their work.

4. Mounting the components inside the case

After soldering, just a few steps remain until completion. The finished electronic circuits are mounted in the case, and an LED is set in the transmitter. Almost there!

5. Checking if the device produces sound - finished!

The power was switched on. After some nervous anticipation, everyone was relieved when the LED was illuminated.
A resounding cheer was heard around the classroom when the light was directed to the receiver, producing sound!

  • Once the students understood the mechanism of optical communications, the next step was experimenting with the devices they built themselves!
To conclude the workshop, the students performed some experiments using their newly-completed communications devices. They deepened their understanding of the mechanism of optical communications by performing various experiments, such as whether sound could still be produced when the light was blocked, or when a mirror was used to reflect the light. They were further able to modify the volume of the sound, and the distance from which the light could reach the device, by switching to infra-red light or a laser. An easy-to-understand explanation on the mechanism for converting sound to light, and vice versa, was accompanied by Sony/Taiyo staff members communicating with sign language. Some of the students were observed taking notes during the explanation, and it was clear that the participants approached their involvement seriously.
All participants were awarded certificates of completion.
At the end of the day, all participants were issued with a certificate to mark the completion of the Handmade experiments in optical communications workshop. Although the Sony Science Program for Girls was held on the last day of their summer vacation, all the girls looked happy with their achievements, and proudly held on to the optical communications devices they created. They all looked as though they had enjoyed their Monozukuri experience and felt a sense of fulfillment.
  • - Comments from participants - The soldering was difficult at first, but as I got used to it, it was really fun to make the device. I had been thinking that I would pursue a literature-based course at university, but after experiencing today's program, I'm going to consider science-based courses among my choices as well. The hands-on experience of making the device myself really helped me to learn the details of optical communications! Observing how much the staff themselves were enjoying Monozukuri made me realize that science is also an option I should consider, and stimulated my interest in Sony as a company. The staff members made it really easy to understand optical communications and the LED mechanism. I had been unsure of whether to focus on science or literature in my high school studies and my future career, so I found today's workshop to be really helpful.

The workshop encouraged these girls to consider engineering as one of their career options

The Sony Science Program for Girls was designed to enable participants to experience the fun of science and Monozukuri, as well as to interest them in choosing engineering as a profession. Although the workshop was only for a brief duration, we feel that by providing the opportunity to create a device that uses optical communications technology, which is used in many familiar consumer electronics devices, the junior and high school students who participated were able to get a glimpse of what it would be like to become an engineer, and may consider this as a career choice in the future. Through this Science Program, Sony will continue to demonstrate the fun and appeal of science and Monozukuri to the engineers of the future.

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