Companies, research institutes and local governments are working with people across the country to find solutions to real-life problems, especially loneliness in old age, based on the concept of a "living lab" to promote regional growth.

Using a model gaining popularity worldwide that originated mainly from Europe, projects and experiments bring together the elderly and the young and involve them in helping develop products and services intended for their use.

Itoki Co., a major office furniture company, recently ran trials of a desk prototype designed for easy home use. Participants who gathered at the company's facility in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, were invited to share their feedback.