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Department of Information Technology and Human Factors

From IT infrastructure to application technology: make, connect, use

The rapid growth of devices (smartphone, tablets, robots, wearables, etc.) and the Internet has increased the amount of information that is being produced and accessed by society. In order to better utilize the data produced from millions of devices and systems, we are conducting research and development in a wide range of fields at the interface between information technologies and human factors. Our mission is to engage and enrich the public through the research and development of intelligent systems combining computational and physical capabilities for human use. A key component of our mission is making new discoveries in the hardware and software that interacts with physical devices to sense and change the state of the real world. Our discoveries will lead to industry innovations and contribute to the advancement of society by facilitating the interaction of humans with cyber-physical systems.

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New Research Results

General Requirements for “Dynamic Signs” Published as an ISO Standard

AIST proposed the general requirements of an international standard for dynamic signs with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, and the proposal was adopted as ISO 23456-1:2021.
The more effective sign system will be established by developing individual standards under this international standard. We are expecting for the society sharing with various age groups, cultures, and perceptual and physical characteristics, such as the elderly and wheelchair users under the concept of accessibility for all people.

Figure of new research results Information Technology and Human Factors

Fig. 1 Concepts included in the international standard for dynamic signs
Fig. 2 Image of use in a public space

Effective Modification of Enzyme Function by Computational Science

Researchers in AIST has developed a computational method for predicting the amino acid sites that control enzyme reactions (Mutation Site Prediction method for Enhancing the Regioselectivity of substrate reaction sites, MSPER) in collaboration with KNC Laboratories Co., Ltd. This method was applied to modify the enzyme cytochrome P450 (P450) used in the production of perfume raw materials. The production rate of the target compound was increased by up to 6.4 times compared to the unmodified enzyme.
MSPER was developed that suppresses the production of by-products by predicting and modifying amino acid sites involved in by-product production from the structural information obtained from simulation analysis to reproduce multiple enzyme-substrate complexes generated in enzyme reactions. This method enables to narrow down the enzyme areas to be modified, which achieves labor savings by reducing the number of evaluation tests for functional verification to 1/170 to 1/1000 that of conventional random mutation methods.

Figure of new research results Information Technology and Human Factors

Principle of MSPER: A noble method to increase production rate of a target compound in enzyme reactions using computer-assisted enzyme modification

Open Innovation Laboratory

Since FY 2016, as a part of the “Open Innovation Arena concept” promoted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), AIST has created the concept of “open innovation laboratories” (OILs), collaborative research bases located on university campuses, and has been engaged in their provision. We are planning to establish more than ten OILs by FY 2020.

AIST will merge the basic research carried out at universities, etc. with AISTʼs goal-oriented basic research and applied technology development, and will promote bridging research and evelopment and industry by the establishment of OILs.

Cooperative Research Laboratories

In order to conduct research and development more closely related to strategies of companies, we have established collaborative research laboratories, bearing partner company names.

Partner companies provide their researchers and funding, and AIST provides research resources, such as its researchers, research facilities, and intellectual property. The loaned researchers of companies and AIST researchers jointly conduct research and development.

By setting up cooperative research laboratories, we will accelerate the commercialization of our goal-oriented basic research and application research with partner companies.

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