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PACAF innovation lab ‘The Dojo’ now open

Master Sgt. Kenneth Martin, 753rd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent puts augmented reality goggles on Col. Andrew Campbell, 374th Airlift Wing commander, in the newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. Although newly created and opened, 'The Dojo' is stocked with top-tier technology such as AR, 3D printers, prototyping software, and reverse-engineering tools. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

Master Sgt. Kenneth Martin, 753rd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent puts augmented reality goggles on Col. Andrew Campbell, 374th Airlift Wing commander, in the newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. Although newly created and opened, 'The Dojo' is stocked with top-tier technology such as AR, 3D printers, prototyping software, and reverse-engineering tools. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

Finley Wilson, son of Master Sgt. Daniel Wilson, 5th Air Force intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations superintendent, plays with a 3D print of a CV-22 Osprey in the newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. The lab is a dedicated space filled with tools and resources to collaboratively solve problems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

Finley Wilson, son of Master Sgt. Daniel Wilson, 5th Air Force intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations superintendent, plays with a 3D print of a CV-22 Osprey in the newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. The lab is a dedicated space filled with tools and resources to collaboratively solve problems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

A pair of augmented reality goggles show an animated robot floating above a desktop in the newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. Although AR has been marketed through the lens of gaming and entertainment, its practical application in the workplace is increasing every day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

A pair of augmented reality goggles show an animated robot floating above a desktop in the newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. Although AR has been marketed through the lens of gaming and entertainment, its practical application in the workplace is increasing every day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

Master Sgt. Kenneth Martin, 753rd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent, reaches for an Arduino in the the Dojo, a newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. An Arduino allows users to prototype or create electronic systems and is just one of the many tools available in the innovation lab. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

Master Sgt. Kenneth Martin, 753rd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent, reaches for an Arduino in the the Dojo, a newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. An Arduino allows users to prototype or create electronic systems and is just one of the many tools available in the innovation lab. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

Joshua Grubb, 374th Contracting Squadron director of specialized contracting, uses the dedicated brainstorming space of the newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. The lab is presented by YokoWERX, the first AFWERX spark cell in mainland Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

Joshua Grubb, 374th Contracting Squadron director of specialized contracting, uses the dedicated brainstorming space of the newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. The lab is presented by YokoWERX, the first AFWERX spark cell in mainland Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

Kayoko Seta, 374th Contracting Squadron contracting specialist, experiences augmented reality for the first time in the newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. The Dojo is now open for business as the installation's hub for problem-solving. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

Kayoko Seta, 374th Contracting Squadron contracting specialist, experiences augmented reality for the first time in the newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. The Dojo is now open for business as the installation's hub for problem-solving. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

Staff Sgt. Gerard Arceneaux, founder of YokoWERX and 374th Force Support Squadron manpower analyst, shows Col. Andrew Campbell, 374th Airlift Wing commander, a 3D design in the newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. The lab is a dedicated space filled with tools and resources to collaboratively solve problems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

Staff Sgt. Gerard Arceneaux, founder of YokoWERX and 374th Force Support Squadron manpower analyst, shows Col. Andrew Campbell, 374th Airlift Wing commander, a 3D design in the newly-opened innovation lab at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25, 2020. The lab is a dedicated space filled with tools and resources to collaboratively solve problems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan --

The Pacific Air Forces added a new innovation lab to its roster Sept. 25, 2020 at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Wing leadership and members of the base attended a soft opening of the Dojo, which is the installation’s new hub for problem-solving. The lab is supported by YokoWERX, a spark cell inspired by the innovation model for the Air Force, AFWERX.

The YokoWERX team is composed of enlisted and officer Airmen, government civilians and a Japanese Air Self Defense Force member. They all volunteer their time and talents to establish the Dojo and maintain it as the first AFWERX lab in Japan.

“Yokota had a need for a dedicated space to collaboratively solve problems,” said Staff Sgt. Gerard Arceneaux, founder of YokoWERX and 374th Force Support Squadron manpower analyst. “We’ve created that space, filled it with top-of-the-line tools, and a team of technical and creative experts to help foster ideas.”

With goals to guide and mentor a community of over 12,000, the team has designed the collaborative space to be a one-stop-shop for accelerating change.

“Our function is to get homegrown ideas noticed, developed and instituted in a way that doesn’t get bogged down by the normal chain of command,” said Lt. Col. Tobby Evans, 374th Airlift Wing innovation officer. “The Dojo will be open to all base personnel who have a project that would benefit our community.”

The team has already put their gadgets and skillsets to use by 3D printing over 300 hand-extension tools, designed to keep hands away from high-touch surfaces like ATM key pads, elevator buttons and public door handles. These ‘COVID keys’ were the first step in marketing the capabilities of the Dojo while addressing the need for upholding public health protection measures on base.

“You don’t have to be a visionary and you don’t need technical expertise,” said Jacob Love, gaining YokoWERX team lead and 374th Contracting Squadron contracting specialist. “We want to provide opportunities for people with ideas to meet people with skillsets and bridge that connection to solve problems.”

According to Love, this pathway system is designed to be a collaborative and comfortable way to make effective and lasting change. Anyone is welcome to join and see how far Yokota, as a community, can go together.