Design - The Soul of Engineering

Design is a process whereby the human powers of creativity, conception and action are used to improve life, industry and nature. It is a generic term for activities involving the use of imagination and creativity to improve the quality of human life by modifying our surroundings and deliberately adapting various factors as an integrated whole. There has been a tendency to down play the role of design because of the emphasis on science in engineering fields. From the viewpoint of technology, however, design is the soul and basis of engineering. Our new school builds on this perspective. We focus on specific approaches to the creation of products by bringing together, into a single area of specialization, the various fields of science and technology that are involved in the development of welldesigned products through creativity and the integration of components.

Requirements for the Development of Generic Engineering Systems

In the 21st century it will be increasingly important to link science and technology with excellence in design. The quality of design will be measured not only in terms of functionality and ease of use, but also on the basis of environmental considerations, including the degree of impact on the global environment, and ease of recycling. Such considerations were not adequately addressed by the science and technology of the 20th century. Science and technology as a subsystem were not properly integrated into the ecosystem as the supra-system, leading to global environmental problems, over-population and resource depletion. The science and technology of the 21st century must reposition existing disparate technological elements within a broader context, and optimize those elements into a more generic engineering system that integrates life, industry, the international community and civilization itself. The fundamental importance of science and technology is waning in a socioindustrial context that places priority on productivity and economic performance. It is therefore significant that a university has taken the initiative in defining the role of science and technology.

Creating Products Capable of Contributing to Society

Science and technology use the same tools, but their objectives are different. Science is strongly oriented toward the analysis of phenomena and the modeling of phenomena based on those analysis results. In contrast, engineering focuses on the solution of specific problems. It uses the results of analyses and models to design (synthesize) or integrate socially useful products. As an academic discipline, engineering has moved toward a scientific approach to technology, and insufficient attention is being paid to the creation of products. The School of Integrated Design Engineering conducts research and training focusing on the creative processes at the heart of engineering. Its aim is to foster engineers who can develop products and engineering systems that contribute to the advancement of society at large.

Optimizing Technology Development Systems

Our aim is to create not only individual products, but also engineering systems into which those products can be optimally fitted. Since research and development activities have so far been separated into different fields, the results have tended to be limited to isolated technologies. Our objective is to coordinate these activities within the overall framework of engineering endeavors, and to study how they might affect users and the environment. In short, we are trying to design a more suitable environment for technological applications, and that is why we included the word "integrated" in the name of the school. In the context of research and education, we want to foster an understanding of the basic concepts and orientations toward integrated design engineering in terms of their relationship with the specific goals of individual research fields. We will also emphasize the actual development of technology in each field of research. In addition, various courses will introduce advanced or emerging research fields so that student can become involved in the challenge of pioneering technologies.