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Home > Special Topics > Activity Report Last Updated: 15:11 03/09/2007
Activity Report Part 1: September 12, 2001

Communities & Regions:

"THE MISSION OF DOKACHIN" is operating in Itoman

Part 1:  TAO launched the research activity in OKINAWA

By Yoshitsugu Hiwatari (TAO)



Dokachin's family lived a peaceful life in primitive days about 3,000 years ago until they were suddenly sent to the modern age by means of time warp. It occurred in a tremendous explosion that took place while an experiment was in progress for development of a "Time Zone Machine" that would enable a whole space zone to undergo a time slip. Dokachin and his family are astounded at the difference between civilizations and aspire to return to their home age. Meanwhile they are innocently involved in various happenings arousing laughter and amazement. Particularly Dokachin, with his supernatural physical strength and magical conversations with dinosaurs and other animals, plays a leading part in every event.

1. Introduction of TAO research projects

Research and development projects to utilize fundamental research results in the information and telecommunication fields have been carried out since 1997 by the Telecommunications Advancement Organization of Japan, or TAO (Futoshi Shirai: Chairman of the Board). TAO is promoting many kinds of research projects, and has established research centers across the country. The research projects are operated by investments from the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications. It aims at improving information and telecommunication services for the nation, and contributing to effective business activities. For spreading advanced information and telecommunication systems, scores of research projects have been adopted every year since 1997. In these research projects, TAO purchases research facilities, manages the research activities and plans the research schedule in cooperation with municipal corporations, organizations and researchers. TAO builds multimedia model systems on the work fields provided by the cooperating organizations, and studies each research theme by using those practical model systems.

Itoman multimedia model office research project
A research project for an Itoman multimedia model office with a practical work environment is one of the adopted nationwide research projects. The Itoman city office is promoting IT industries in the Nishizaki area by making a reliable plan for constructing an information network infrastructure.

To start this research project, TAO has decided to build a research center named Itoman Multimedia Techno-Center (MMTC). The Itoman multimedia model office studies the efficient technical manner of computer animation work, and the cooperative method of reducing the working load of animators in a distributed network environment. In order to prove successful research, TAO accepted an offer of cooperation from the Itoman city office, and invited the contributions of cooperative researchers and cooperative enterprises, because inspection by using practical applications or data is important for demonstration of a robust multimedia model office system.

The Itoman city office covers the operation of research facilities and MMTC. They pay the communication tariff, lighting and heating expenses. On the other hand, cooperative researchers and enterprises propose new architectures for network computer animation work and carry out practical experiments. They also gather data about computer animation workflow and management by tracing the animation painting work. For the purpose of providing these data, Infini Entertainment Technology, one of the participating enterprises, organized several painting groups in MMTC and undertook the animation painting work.

Outline of MMTC
The Itoman Multimedia Techno-Center (MMTC) opened in April 2001. MMTC is located in the Nishizaki area in Itoman city, about 10 km from Naha airport. The Center is housed in a beautiful single-floor building. MMTC is approximately 20 minutes by car from the airport.

MMTC has one seminar room, one producer room, three director rooms, an office for cooperative research use, and a research and development office. All facilities in MMTC are networked by a 100Mbps LAN, and the office management system allows adaptation to dynamic changes for the installation of computer terminals, and secures research activities and data from attack via the Internet.

The building was designed by KUNIKEN Ltd. in Naha. The fine architects have started geological surveys and designs since the end of August 2000, and they have supervised the construction of MMTC through March 2001. The architecture of MMTC is based on two basic concepts. One is to create comfortable office-space by taking into consideration the climate Okinawa, and the other is aiming at realization of ecological and sustainable design.

The builder was Goyagumi Company Ltd. in Itoman, which began construction in October 2000. Goyagumi completed the construction by the end of March 2001. They built the beautifully designed MMTC without delays, with clear-cut outer walls, reddish-brown colored , and pleasant open spaces.

NTT West Corporation and FOR-A Company Ltd. have integrated an Itoman multimedia model office system. They have built a robust network animation system by introducing a distributed animation production management system and a network computer security system. The members from NTT West Corporation coordinated the concurrent construction of interior furnishings and system installations as well.

Thanks to their best efforts, MMTC opened in April 2001, and studies of efficient technical computer animation work has started smoothly.

Fig.1 shows MMTC's ground floor plan. MMTC has an area of 6,237 square meters, and floor space of 860 square meters. The structure of MMTC consists of reinforced concrete.

External appearance of MMTC

Inside of MMTC

The MMTC research project undertook animation painting work from Tatsunoko Pro. in Tokyo, as a trial to identify computer painting skills of animators who are training in MMTC. This trial must be an important key to achieve high-level research by utilizing practical data and by completing high quality animation work efficiently.

One animation tells the story of a primitive boy who was sent to modern society with his family namely DOKACHIN. Then Dr. Tamaki, director of the research project, though that DOKACHIN must be an important animation character that brings fortune to this project, and he called all of the research activities in Itoman MMTC "THE MISSION OF DOKACHIN". The implication of DOKACHIN in Japanese is that we are reminded of an active, unrestrained, rough and mischievous but reliable person. In fact, DOKACHIN is a powerful and cheerful boy that will make us vigorous. And a policy of "thinking from pleasurable mind", which is related to the personality of DOKACHIN, was set as well by Dr. Tamaki, and all of the research members agreed with this principle and placed DOKACHIN as a symbol of the Itoman multimedia model office research project. They are pushing forward to achieve success of research activities with a new policy and a new symbol.

In the field of MMTC, advanced and exciting research activities are practiced by a smart crew under the direction of Dr. Tamaki from the University of the Ryukyus. The members of this mission are appointed as cooperative researchers, research fellows or secretariats from cooperative organizations.

Participants are as follows.
 Director: Shiro Tamaki; University of the Ryukyus
 Researcher: Toshihiko Horima; NTT Okinawa satellite laboratory
 Researcher: Tadatoshi Babasaki; NTT Okinawa satellite Laboratory
 Researcher: Bokusho Kinjo; NTT West Corporation
 Researcher: Jimmy H. Nakamura; Infini Entertainment Technology
 Researcher: Kohki Miyazato; Infini Entertainment Technology
 Researcher: Keiichi Honma; FOR-A Company limited
 Researcher: Takashi Shiratori; FOR-A Company limited
 Secretariat: Yasuji Kamiya; NTT West Corporation
 Secretariat: Masayoshi Minei; NTT West Corporation
 Secretariat: Hiroshi Yonamine; NTT West Corporation
 Secretariat: Takashi Onaha; Itoman City Office
 Secretariat: Yoshitsugu Hiwatari; TAO,hiwatari@shiba.tao.go.jp

Dr. Tamaki's special subjects are control theory, digital signal processing and analysis of natural energy systems, ass well as SOHO telework systems. He was appointed as a representative researcher of TAO and was given direction of all research activities related to the Itoman multimedia model office project. He also is involved in the Japan Gigabit Network research project promoted by TAO. He is expected to lead successful research, and he can generate remarkable research activities by applying his knowledge of the spatial and temporal distributions of work and computer networks in addition to his knowledge of his specialized field.

Mr. Nakamura advanced the research idea of the cooperation of computer animation work, and he is planning to up-grade the research activities of this experimental operation of the animation business by utilizing technology of network animation work. He manages all of the animation production and demonstrates the computer animation productivity in MMTC to the major animation companies.

Mr. Miyazato is overseeing the work field, supervises the assignment of the painting work and checks the skills of animators. Checking these skills for several months will contribute to fix the animator's skill level, and then we'll be able to form suitable job assignment models.

Mr. Horima and Mr. Babasaki will propose a new architecture for the cooperative computer animation work and the method for measuring animators' skill level. These ideas will be useful to do animation painting work effectively. In order to understand precisely the animators' skills, they have been analyzing working logs about production time or the skill level of each animator.

Mr. Shiratori has integrated the Itoman multimedia model office system, and he is supporting the gathering of basic data and the analyses of animators' skills. He is investigating the new work process by using cooperative animation production systems.

Next issue
In this report I introduced the research project carried out by TAO, explained the Itoman multimedia model office research project, outlined the MMTC, and explained the naming of THE MISSION OF DOKACHIN.

In the next issue I will present the system configuration and function of the Itoman multimedia model office system, and the summary of cooperative computer animation work. If you have any questions or any requests about this report, please contact Y. Hiwatari.hiwatari@shiba.tao.go.jp

TAO: see http://www.shiba.tao.go.jp/
Okinawa prefecture: see http://www.pref.okinawa.jp/
Itoman city: see http://www.city.itoman.okinawa.jp/
University of the Ryukyus: see http://www.u-ryukyu.ac.jp/
NTT West Corporation Okinawa branch office: see http://www.ntt-west.co.jp/okinawa/
NTT Information Sharing Laboratory: see http://www.islab.ecl.ntt.co.jp/
Infini Entertainment Technology: see http://www.infini.co.jp/
FOR-A Company limited: see http://www.for-a.co.jp/
KUNIKEN Ltd.: see http://www.kuniken.co.jp/

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