Research and Development Center for Taste and Odor Sensing’ in Kyushu university, which was founded on Nov 1st, 2013 under the direction of Prof. Kiyoshi Toko (Institute for Advanced Study, Kyushu University), has served as the world’s only research center of excellence possessing international initiatives covering from basic research to societal implementation. Aiming at a safe, secure, and comfortable life for the children and the elderly in the whole world, especially in an aging society like Japan, in addition to the three original divisions, ‘Taste Sensor’, ‘Odor Sensor’, and ‘Sensory Physiology’ at the time of establishment, a new ‘Applied Medical Sensing’ division which strongly promote research regarding medical and health management using urine and other body fluid samples, was participated to the Center. One of the Center’s notable achievements, that is the discovery of a novel biomarker for the early-stage and recurrence diagnosis of cancer, has successfully resulted from the organic coordination research beyond the 4 divisions.
Meanwhile, human collect external information through the five senses of vision, audition, tactile sensation, olfaction, and gustation to perceive, analyze and comprehend the surrounding environment. In other words, based on detected multiple information from the respective sensing systems simultaneously and independently, we cognize various situations through perception and integration of the sensory information. The human’s senses and their response mechanisms could be considered exactly as an ultimate sensing device. Gustation and olfaction could be considered as chemical sensing of the quantity and quality of targeted external compounds, and vision, audition, and tactile sensation could be considered as physical sensing based on light, shape, temperature, pressure, and frequency, etc. Regarding the sensing of visionary and auditory information, mature recording and reproducing techniques exist and some devices have been developed to transmit such information beyond temporal and spatial restrictions. To date, the research field has transferred to an experimental psychological stage to elucidate the human sensation and perception process of such information.
In view of such background, ‘Research and Development Center for Five-Sense Devices’ is newly established on 1st Nov, 2018 aiming at the fusion of the ‘Taste and Odor Research’ as representative advanced research of Kyushu university led by the Research and Development Center for Taste and Odor Sensing, with ‘Vision and Audition Research’ which enables the elucidation of mechanisms of psychological response and multisensory integration of the senses by employing experimental psychology, virtual reality, perceptual computer simulation, etc. The center’s objective is to create innovative techniques including sensory interaction techniques, alternative or complementary sensing techniques for sensory deficiencies and five-sensory transmission techniques beyond the restriction of time and space to achieve societal implementation of novel devices, which improve dementia and sensory deficiencies which remains an important problem to be solved in the modern society, and realize realistic sensation in fields of Food Science, Medical Care, and Entertainment, etc.
Furthermore, the new center consists of Faculty of Information Science and Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Dental Science, and Kyushu University Hospital as well as Faculty of Design, Faculty of Arts and Science, and Faculty of Human-Environmental Studies, which encompasses a wide variety of academic areas beyond Humanities and Sciences. That is, with the foundation of the world-leading taste and odor sensing technique, we believe that ‘Research and Development Center for Five-Sense Devices’ will become a world-unique interdisciplinary academic platform for synergy research through organic coordination of researchers of respective specialized field of the five senses. We appreciate the understanding and support from both in and outside of Japan.