TMT Robot Receives Stellar Design Award

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1:20 scale model of the Segment Handling System (SHS) displayed at the Good Design Exhibition. Photo credit: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

1:20 scale model of the Segment Handling System (SHS) displayed at the Good Design Exhibition. Photo credit: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

A Segment-Handling Robot developed in Japan for the Thirty Meter Telescope has received the 2016 Good Design Award.

The robot is a key technology in the world’s first Segment Handling System, designed to safely and efficiently replace numerous segment mirrors for the next generation’s extremely large telescope to maintain perfectly reflective mirrors during TMT’s operation.

In recognition of its originality, creativity and advanced technological capability, the Segment-Handling Robot was selected as one of 100 Good Design Best Award winners out of 4,085 entries screened in 2016.


TMT’s Segment-Handling Robot also received the Good Design Special (“Design for the Future”) Award, given to particularly outstanding designs that are anticipated to become a foundation for the coming future and society. To see the key technologies highlighted in the Segment-Handling Robot, click here.

Hosted by the Japan Institute for Design Promotion, the Good Design Awards recognize stellar designs that enrich our lives and society.

In a press conference held on Oct. 31, 2016, the screening committee explained that, in addition to the functional beauty grounded in its unique design, the Segment-Handling Robot was highly praised for its underlying purpose.


“We would like to support the realization of a magnificent dream in natural science to observe the first star in the universe with an extremely large telescope,” the committee leader added.

“Japan is proud to be a global partner in building TMT,” said Masanori Iye, TMT Japan representative, and professor emeritus of National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. “This groundbreaking project is only made possible through the teamwork involved by the various countries.”

About TMT
The Thirty Meter Telescope Project has been developed as collaboration among Caltech, UC, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China and India with the goal to design, develop, construct and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Mauna Kea in cooperation with the University of Hawai‘i (TMT Project).


The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a nonprofit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project.

The Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Science and Technology of India, and the National Research Council (Canada); the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate. Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.

For more information about the TMT project, visit


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