Hokkaido University Research Profiles


visualization: 3

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  • Life Sciences
  • Information and Communication
  • Nanotechnology / Materials
  • Manufacturing Technology
  • Human and Social Sciences
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Tourism / Community development
  • Arctic Research
  • Social Infrastructure
  • Open Facilities
  • MIRASAL, a Device for Visualizing the Freshness of and Best Timing for Eating Food Animals

    A device for evaluating the freshness of and the best timing for eating food animals to ensure safety and security

    In collaboration with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), we have developed a visualization device called MIRASAL to evaluate the freshness of and the best timing for eating food animals by using a simulation method to determine the concentration of degraded components in any part of a food animal (aquatic or livestock animal), which changes over the course of time after the animal has died.


    At the wholesale markets in fish and shellfish production and consumption areas, freshness is an important criterion in the determination of transaction prices, and the K value has been proposed as an evaluation index. However, since the K-value is calculated by sampling any part of a postmortem marine animal and analyzing the components after various pretreatments, real-time evaluation (understanding) at the distribution site is not possible. Aiming to solve this problem using an appropriate simulation method, we have developed a device that can evaluate the freshness and the best timing to eat fish and shellfish based on various information such as the type and size of the fish and shellfish, the elapsed time since death, and the storage temperature, using the method described above. We are currently working on the acquisition of the rights to the invention and for improvement of its portability (for use with smartphones, etc.). This device “MIRASAL” can also be applied to livestock animals such as beef, chicken, and pork.

  • Development of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells with Excellent Sub-zero Start-up Performance

    Elucidation of micro-nano freezing phenomena in fuel cells

    We are visualizing the freezing phenomenon near the reaction layer in fuel cells, which cannot normally be observed, using an ultracold electron microscope. By combining electrochemical measurements, we are also elucidating the freezing phenomenon of produced water, which becomes a problem in cold climate applications, and are developing fuel cells with excellent sub-zero activation performance.


    In the polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC), which is a highly efficient and clean energy conversion device, the water produced by the reaction passes through a catalyst layer pores of several tens of nanometers in diameter and is discharged into the gas diffusion layer and gas supply channel through the microporous layer (MPL), which is a porous layer with pores of several micrometers in diameter, as shown in the left figure below. In the activation in a sub-zero environment in cold regions, the produced water freezes, causing the power generation to stop and degrade. However, the phenomenon is on a micro-nano scale and is thus difficult to measure, so the phenomenon is still insufficiently understood. This study is aimed to clarify where the water freezes and what mechanism leads to performance shutdown and aging degradation. We will conduct microscopic observation, electrochemical measurement and catalyst layer model analysis to contribute to the improvement of activation resistance and extension of the service life. The middle figure below shows the catalyst layer filled with ice, and the right figure is a structural schematic of the catalyst layer modeled in the analysis.

  • Next-generation Visualization Technology for Sports Content

    Creation of information presentation technology that accelerates knowledge sharing

    We are building next-generation visualization technology to provide data that support sports watching and education. Using various data obtained from users and their surrounding environment, we will derive a theory that defines, “analysis data” and “presentation methods adapted to the usage environment” to enable information presentation that accelerates knowledge sharing.


    In terms of the present situation concerning sports, various forms of image and video distribution have spread, and a new environment for watching sports is being established, whereby related data along with images and video footing can be viewed via smartphones and other mobile terminals. However, with soccer, it is only possible to view basic data such as free kick success rate and running distance. This research analyzes various data obtained from users and their surrounding environment to help them understand and visualize the data to accelerate knowledge sharing, even when the relevant knowledge and experience are essential. Examples include ball passing and the degree of dominance. Since the visualization technology of this research can obtain various data surrounding the user and provide various kinds of information in a way that is adaptable to the user's environment, it has high potential for application to the fields of IoT and AI, and is expected to contribute to the creation of new technologies in these fields.