About KOSEN-AT-Technical College personnel-

Message from the President

Kiyota Public Insurance

Kumamoto National College of Technology, Department of Human-Oriented Information Systems Engineering, Professor
Representative of KOSEN-AT (National KOSEN Support Equipment Development Network

KOSEN-AT originated in the "National KOSEN Welfare Information Education Network," which was organized by the faculty and staff of 14 technical colleges nationwide. This is to innovate in the technical field of welfare information education in collaboration with medical welfare institutions, special needs schools, companies, and other organizations, by sharing information with local institutions as well as research seeds generated by each technical college among participants. It was established with this purpose.

To date, we have held AT (assistive technology) forums for technical cooperation in Kumamoto, Kushiro, Okinawa, Sendai, and Nagano, centered on network members. The strength of cooperation among technical colleges is that it allows the network to work in service of national rather than only local interests. Furthermore, in 2014, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's National University Reform Strengthening Promotion Project was initiated. Its aim was to develop human capacity in engineering through a collaboration among the three institutions of Nagaoka University of Technology, Toyohashi University of Technology, and the National Institute of Technology in order to bring about new innovation. Taking this opportunity, the name of the organization was changed to the "Japan AT Forum" and the circle of technical cooperation is expanding.

In recent years, the increase in welfare medical care due to the aging of the population has become an issue not only in Japan but also on a global scale. There is an urgent need to train AT engineers who can develop AT equipment.

Technical colleges have trained specialized engineers in mechanics, electrical and electronics, information, construction, and so on. The development of AT equipment, however, involves not only these conventional specialties but also combinations of and intersections between them. New technical skills (AT skills) are required, and experts from different fields must collaborate to conduct research, development, and evaluation, in order to produce effective equipment.

Above all, both technical training and research and development should adopt a needs-based approach that can feed back to research activities, listening to the opinions of people with disabilities and supporters who are active in the fields of education, welfare, and medical care. Rooted in this ethos, KOSEN-AT seeks in its activities and various collaborations to promote human capacity development and the research and development of AT equipment.

We look forward to the support and cooperation of national facilities, local governments, companies, and educators who are interested in and share this purpose.

Philosophy / Purpose

Aiming for the revitalization of medical and welfare engineering in which knowledge from medical, welfare, and engineering is integrated, KOSEN-AT has an “AT mind” in terms of engineer education in Japan. What is an AT mind? It is one that seeks to support people with disabilities by centering their perspectives, and to acquire the skills necessary to achieve that aim. We will produce skilled personnel who will lead the future AT industry by training “AT super engineers”: that is, super engineers with AT minds. They will:

Have their own areas of specialization, such as the nucleus.

Have a wide range of insights and culture regarding assistive technologies.

Incorporate the perspectives of interested parties and users via on-site observation and conduct clinical trials to discover and address issues.

Be able to create and develop while collaborating with experts in different fields to solve problems.

What is a inclusive society?

“It is a society where people with disabilities, who have not always been able to participate fully in society, can actively participate and contribute. It is a society in which everyone respects and supports each other's personality and individuality. It is a participatory society where people can meet and recognize their diversity.”

* Excerpt: From the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. “Promotion of special needs education for building an inclusive education system for the formation of a inclusive society” (report).

1. Toward the formation of a inclusive society

What is assistive technology (AT)?
(AT: Assistive Technology)

A technology that provides a means to assist a person who has some disability in terms of physical function or movement.

For future assistive technology

Concept of "Future AT: Extended-AT"

A technical measure that supports the formation of a inclusive society by targeting the environment and society surrounding people with disabilities, in addition to the physical and mental disabilities that conventional assistive technologies have targeted.

With "Future AT: Extended-AT"

We will utilize assistive technologies to create solutions that will lead to the realization of a inclusive society, collaborating with the relevant stakeholders and with the participation of the parties concerned.

Three goals to realize a inclusive society

1.College of technology
"Society 5.0 type future technology human resources"
Make the training business successful

KOSEN-AT was adopted by the National Institute of Technology’s "GEAR 5.0 Advanced Social Implementation Education for Future Technology" project in 2020.
Business theme: "Achievement of a inclusive society through the AT-HUB concept that supports sustainable community medicine and welfare, and the training of AT engineers."

This project will draw on established practices of conventional technical colleges, such as community-based, problem-solving, and social implementation approaches, while utilizing the human resources that will be central to the Society 5.0 era, such as being able to integrate AI and other fields. We will promote the construction of a nationwide system of cooperation with all national technical colleges and a wide range of companies, local governments, universities, and other organizations.

2.Contribute as a catalyst for a inclusive society

Utilizing the economies of scale of the technical college network (51 national colleges of technology and 55 campuses), we will contribute to the creation of a inclusive society in which everyone participates.

The essence of troubles (creating a place) by connecting parties and social resources (local governments, special schools, medical institutions, welfare facilities, companies working on employment of people with disabilities, employment support facilities for people with disabilities, social welfare corporations, etc.) find, share, and solve (systemic problems).

3.Utilizing Extended-AT in the region

Employing AT developed at the national technical colleges across Japan, we will support the social participation and employment of people with disabilities, and so contribute to the creation of a inclusive society in which everyone can participate.

Two actions to realize a inclusive society

1.   Promote support activities based on a new human capacity development model through the social implementation of future technology. 

We have adopted a model for the human capacity development of AT super engineers, and are promoting support activities that are based on it.

2.    Promote collaboration across different sectors.
Correspondence to social contexts (environment, society)

"Future AT: Extended-AT" is required to present solutions that address wider social contexts, such as the environment or society.
For example, it may be used to create a work environment (physical space, work jigs, appropriate information environment) where people with disabilities and the elderly can work safely and comfortably alongside others, and in which the diverse members of teams can play their respective roles. An example is an information system that supports high performance in Japan.

Digital integration

Examples include the integration of:
Line-of-sight input systems (for people with physical disabilities) with electric wheelchairs, as well as with safe driving support systems.

Nursing robots and environmental monitoring systems.

Store business systems, support equipment, and support services to reduce barriers to employment of people with disabilities.

Monitoring services for the elderly living alone and various support devices and services.

Agricultural work support equipment and micrometeorological observation system installed on farms.

Vital data acquired using the Internet of Things and similar technologies with multiple support devices and support services to create an integrated support environment that closely fits the needs of the affected parties.

And so on.

A research and development system that facilitates cooperation across different disciplines and fields

To reduce obstacles through collaboration between both medical and social methods, a research system that integrates different fields is indispensable.
KOSEN-AT promotes collaborative research among faculty members, researchers, and experts from various specialized fields.
Why not join KOSEN-AT and utilize the expertise, research, and human power that you have cultivated so far to help build a inclusive society?

Event information

  • JapanATフォーラム2020
    Fri, Sep 24
    Sep 24, 10:00 AM – Sep 25, 1:30 PM
    Japan AT フォーラムは,高専教員を中心に2010年から福祉・情報教育関連の研究交流の場として開催されていた「全国KOSEN福祉情報教育フォーラム」を前身とし,2014年からは研究交流とともにAT技術者育成のためのワークショップを組み入れ「Japan ATフォーラム」と改称したもので,毎年1回開催しています.本フォーラムは,AT(アシスティブ・テクノロジー)関連に携わる技術者・学生・団体等が支援技術の研究開発と技術者育成のために集う研究・技術交流の場で,これまでに仙台,長野,明石,函館,徳山,富山で計6回開催されています.このたび第7回を熊本高専・熊本キャンパスで会場に開催します。

"Inclusive society leaves no one behind."