Embracing Tangible Interaction Design: The New Trend of Industrial Design Education in Japan

Stephen Jia Wang, Shi Zhong Wu, Tamada Toshiro, Arthur De Bono, Zhen Sheng Liu

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


The movement of global industry over the past 10 years suggests that there is a growing need for industrial design educators to enable graduates with a more applicable and comprehensive skill-set for designing interactive (smart) systems, products and services. This study takes a recent development in Japanese industrial design education as an example. The authors hypothesize that the coming need of global industry urges a new breed of expertise. Students must be competent for the design tasks, which simultaneously focus on both ‘physical property’ and ‘interactivity’. Working with such a hypothesis, the challenge in the design education sector is which pedagogical approach should been taken to better equip graduates with a stronger sense of the technology and a better handling aptitude of ‘interactivity’. To confront this challenge, a transnational collaborative educational development platform across Australia, China and Japan was formed in 2009. This paper introduces the experiences gleaned from the recent pedagogical foresight and related teaching exploration at Tokyo Zokei University in Japan. As an intrinsic part of this pedagogical model, the method of Tangible Interaction Design (TID) provides potentialities, which blur the boundaries of tangible objects and intangible services. As the result of this study, a set of physical-aspect accommodated interaction design units have been weaved into this TID curriculum, such as related cognitive and social systems, contextual design methodology, and human experience conformed physical computing technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationACUADS Conference 2012: Region and Isolation: The Changing Function of Art & Design Education
Place of PublicationPerth, Australia
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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