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Creating A Map 

That Everyone Can Use.


Tourism in Japan is expected to increase exponentially with the coming of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. With the coming of more international tourists comes the chance of miscommunication and lost opportunities. To fix this, Toppan challenged the students from Stanford University and the Kyoto Institute of Technology to design a non-verbal way of communicating between people who do not share a common language.  


The team conducted extensive research on tourists who are unfamiliar with their host country’s language. How do they research their trips? How do they get around? Do they rely on translators? They found that tourists often use website recommendations or tour guides to explore their host country, leading them to overpriced and overcrowded tourist destinations. To communicate, tourists most often used unreliable internet translators that left both the tourist and the local confused.

After going through a series of prototypes that allowed users to communicate non-verbally, the team settled on their final solution: Tabito, an e-ink map device which allows travelers to explore off the beaten path with recommendations from locals. Users have the ability to simply draw on the map to communicate their desires and destinations to people familiar with the area, leaving incorrect translations in the past. With a simple library of icons, users can also locate restrooms, restaurants, Wi-Fi, and local guides registered within the Tabito system; the design itself rolls into a compact form, allowing for lightweight and easy storage.

At present, e-ink in a roll-able format has not been developed, but the team did produce a final prototype and working software meant for use in future development. The Tabito comes with the knowledge that travel among unfamiliar destinations and inter-lingual communication need not be unrealistic expectations.


Corporate Partner:

​Design Team:





Stanford  University

Danee Kenyon Jasper Wu

Alex Yee

Kyoto Institute of Technology

Yuki Ozaki Takahiro Tsuji

Hiroki Kondo Taka Uchida

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