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The Yomiuri Shimbun

Children play with LED devices made at an electronic handicraft workshop in Taito Ward, Tokyo. The lights vary in intensity as the microphones attached to the devices react to the voices of the children.

By Kaname Muto / Yomiuri Shimbun Photographer“How can I make this a little brighter?”

Children were speaking into handmade light-emitting diode devices that vary in their degree of brightness, depending on the sound captured by a microphone attached to the devices, at My Tech Lab in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

The facility opened in an office building in the Nishishinjuku district of the ward, with the aim of providing both a workspace and workshops where participants can enjoy working on electronic handicrafts.

Through late August, the facility will offer a workroom in which visitors can use tools, including soldering irons, at no charge. Other machinery, such as a 3-D printer and a laser cutter, are also available for a fee (advance reservations are required).

At a workshop focused on building robots — held to commemorate the opening of the lab — everyday materials, including aluminum foil and work gloves, were made available and laid out.

“We made arrangements so beginners at electronic handicrafts aren’t hesitant to get involved,” said Mitsuru Kawai, 39, in charge of public relations at the lab.

Masayuki Kakinawa, a 41-year-old company employee from Ota Ward, Tokyo, built a robot with spring-powered movements. Kakinawa looked happy as he dressed up his robot in aluminum foil: “At the very least, I wanted to make this look beautiful, if it’s not going to be graceful.”

On a recent holiday when the Nishishinjuku office building was closed, an electronic handicraft workshop was held in an event space in Taito Ward, Tokyo. Participants let out cheers when a small light with a handmade LED device switched on.

“As technology around us improves, some people probably feel their understanding of it is decreasing. We want to convey to people how fun handicrafts can be,” Kawai said.

The workroom is open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. It’s closed on Sundays, Mondays and national holidays. Visit https://www.mytechlab.info/ for more information.Speech

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    A workshop participant makes a robot using everyday materials such as aluminum foil and wire in Shinjuku Ward.

  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    The reflection of people building robots can be seen in the window of an office building in Shinjuku Ward as it gets dark.

  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    A workshop participant in Taito Ward uses a soldering iron to connect circuits on a device.

  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    A hands-on session on soldering is held at an electronic handicraft workshop in Taito Ward.

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