Category : GENERAL
By SmartCraft Studio 2016 (Japan)
Our team created the Hozuki Lantern device to create a genuine and efficient interaction between the Japanese locals and the foreign travelers. Our goal for the project was to help elderly residents who are inactive members of the current technological world, to be able to use our device in order to help tourists connect to the authentic lifestyle of the Hida countryside. It is important for tourists who are visiting the Hida area to understand and experience the countryside lifestyle. In Hida-Furukawa, the local population currently has a high rate of elderly, due to the migration of the younger generations to job-populated areas. The elderly are extremely interested in hosting and showing tourists the lifestyle that they live day to day.
Our group realized that the main issue between the visitors experiencing a genuine lifestyle and the elderly hosting these visitors is a simple lack of connection. As a solution to the disconnection, we created a merge of two different user interfaces into one device.
The elderly, who are not technologically proficient, only have to hang a lantern on their porch. When the lantern is hung, tension is created between the weight of the lantern and the string it is hung on. The tension activates a GPS and Wifi device that is hidden inside a 3D printed case, implanted within the lantern. The GPS device sends the lantern’s location to the Hozuki Project software app, accessible to all tourists via the Google play store. The app displays dropped pins of all the lanterns in the area where tourists can find out the elderly who are ready to host them for various activities. These two interfaces, allow not only for tourists to easily navigate to the elderly, but for the elderly to use a familiar cultural object without even having to know any aspect of the internal technical operations.
In the making process of the Hozuki Lantern, we aimed to combine the traditional Japanese craftsmen materials to create a structure that is visually un-suggestive of the hidden technological device. For the exterior structure, we took the shape of a popular hozuki plant in Japan, which is often found as a decoration in many Japanese homes. The design combines a woodwork joinery technique known as Kumiki and traditional Japanese Washi paper to create the transparency and delicate hozuki. Similar to the refined shape of the plant, we used the laser cutting fabrication technique to create a precise wooden structure. We aimed to create unity of the whole design to even the finest details.
I am quite taken by this warm-hearted project. It has such a great balance between psychological needs and digital connectivity in a multi-generation context. Many countries are inching toward or have already become aging society with a large number of elderly. This project provides a novel way to bridge the gap between the young and the old, between digital and physical, and between one culture to another. A very sensible project.