Science Foundation Ireland

Letter from Japan

Dr Jernej Hribar, CONNECT Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, sends us this letter from Japan…

Ohayou gozaimasu,

Good morning from the world’s largest metropolis. I am sitting in an office on the fourteenth floor overlooking Tokyo, with Skytree far in the distance, sipping warm canned coffee I picked up in the convenience store on my way to work. I am ready to share my wonderful experience as a host researcher at Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT).

I arrived in Japan as a Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) postdoctoral fellow. I applied to the Fellowship in November 2019, right after I submitted my thesis,. I was notified that I hat received the funding two weeks before the coronavirus outbreak. After some delay and an enormous amount of help from my host, Professor Ryoichi Shinkuma, I managed to arrive in Japan in April 2022. Just in time to enjoy the golden week festivities.

Professor Shinkuma’s research focuses on sensing from 3D (three-dimensional image) sensors in a wide range of scenarios, from smart cities to the brain. His laboratory has a state-of-the-art LIDAR (light detection and ranging) testbed, used to explore various use cases including interactions between pedestrians and vehicles in cities. The goal of this testing is to design a communications system that will enable self-driving cars to achieve zero accidents by eliminating blind spots. His work also includes human environment design in which information from the brain plays a key role in determining an individual’s wellbeing while in specific spaces.

In our joint work, we explore how to take advantage of correlation at the edge of the network. In large deployments, the information obtained from individual devices is often correlated. We investigate the impact of correlation in the outcome of the data-analytic task on the energy efficiency of edge devices powered with an energy harvester. The initial work, in collaboration with Prof. Ivana Dusparic and Prof. George Iosifidis, was already presented at the Globecom conference. Currently, we are working on generalizing the proposed concept and also making use of Prof. Shinkuma’s LIDAR testbed to obtain a dataset to demonstrate the applicability of our approach.

The fellowship is also a wonderful opportunity to meet other researchers working on very interesting topics. I met Prof. Gabriel Trovato, whose main research interest is on Human-Robot Interaction, with a focus on culture and religion-related aspects, artificial emotions in humanoids, robot aesthetics, and procedural content generation. I am going to visit Professor Jun Shiomi at Osaka University and Professor Hiromitsu Awano at Kyoto University over the next few days!

Luckily, I also have an opportunity to do sightseeing and enjoy the amazing cuisine Japan has to offer. I visited many incredible temples and shrines in and outside Tokyo but found the nicest temples in Kamakura, with Kenchō-Ji temple being the most impressive. I also had my fair share of takoyaki, onigiri, udon noodles, and sushi. On top of all that, the city has an amazing public transport system, enabling me to get from one part of the city using a monorail, subway, or a train. Not to mention the extremely fast Shinkansen that I am planning to use to visit other cities in Japan.

I would also like to mention that if anyone is interested in applying for the JSPS fellowship, they should get in touch with Ruth Baker, CONNECT’s Research Programme Officer, I cannot recommend it enough. Last but not least, I could not be here without the help of Professor Marco Ruffini, who helped me immensely in establishing the initial contact with my host.

Until we meet again, tanoshinde ne (Have a good day).

CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.

Group photo with Jernej

Jernej giving a talk to his fellow researchers

Collecting data

View of Tokyo from the window

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