TechShop Tokyo, a membership-based, open-access DIY workshop*, held its grand opening in Akasaka, Tokyo on April 1.
TechShop is known as a driving force behind the maker movement. This TechShop Tokyo that opened on April 1 is attracting much attention as the first TechShop location in Asia.
The Fujitsu Journal team visited TechShop and following is a report on the visit.
All you need is imagination and the willingness to let it take shape
First of all, after entering the workshop, we were surprised by the spacious area and the abundance of work equipment. The workshop, with a maximum ceiling height of eight meters and floor space of about 1,200 m**, has a wide open space filled with bright light from large windows, which makes us forget the fact that we are in a building in the bustling area of Roppongi. The workshop, designed to incorporate the style of the U.S. TechShop as it is, is equipped with almost 50 different types of work equipment, including the latest equipment, such as laser cutters and 3D printers, 3D turning machine (CNC woodworking turning machine) which is the only one in Honshu, Japan, metalworking machines, welders, and textile sewing machines**.
One of the advantages of TechShop is that it makes it easy for people to give form to their ideas by providing an environment where they can perform all the steps of prototyping in one place. Anyone who has completed the required training in advance can freely use work tools and equipment.
You can quickly prototype whatever idea you have using the machinery provided at the workshop.
* DIY: Do It Yourself
** Users are asked to bring in materials. Storage is available for an extra charge.
What is important is a community where people can help each other to build their dreams
The greatest feature of TechShop Tokyo is that it places importance on communities created from the workshop. A large workspace room has no partitions providing good visibility, permitting a view of members helping each other to exchange ideas and create products. Shoichi Arisaka, President & Representative Director of TechShop Japan Limited, said, "We provide an open space where members can freely converse to facilitate their communication. We realized a spacious workspace to ensure both safety and freedom when several members work at the same time.
As the reason for selecting Akasaka as the workshop location, President Arisaka explained, "We thought this area best suited the concept of the Techshop headquarters in the United States--'the place where the most creative people in the city gather.' Akasaka is an area where people from various occupations, races, and nationalities naturally gather. Another big attraction of the area is that it is conveniently located and easy to access during lunch break or after work and it also provides an environment where people can work on urban development.
Dream Consultants help members give form to their ideas
Trainers called Dream Consultants help members learn how to use work machines and tools. Dream Consultants are reliable supporters who will work with members to train on the machines, help members develop ideas, and provide prototyping services. They are also focusing on networking support by understanding who is making what and who is good at what to help individual members fulfill their dreams through collaboration between members.
In addition to the matching support service by Dream Consultants, TechShop Tokyo plans to hold various workshops and exchange meetings where members can network in a friendly environment.
About the policy of TechShop Tokyo, Mr. Arisaka stated, "Many people, including manufacturers, venture companies, creators, students, and housewives, have already registered as members. I want to make TechShop an "enjoyable place" that makes it easy for various people to give form to their ideas. All ideas are good ideas that are worth trying. I want everyone to think "it is a natural thing to give form to ideas. I hope that way of thinking will change the world and wonderful hit products will come from Japan."
An era has started where anyone can make innovation happen
TechShops overseas launch new ideas every day, and more than 100 ideas have been developed into commercial products.
Fujitsu believes anyone can make innovation happen if an environment that can empower people has been developed. Fujitsu will provide an environment where people can gather and create open innovations through the establishment and operation of TechShop Tokyo.
TechShop Tokyo is spreading the joy of making things. Why not enjoy giving form to your ideas at TechShop Tokyo?