Contents start


April  1, 2003
AOI Technology Inc, A new joint venture formed by
Olympus Optical and ITX
Begins business operation and Enters the
Dynamically Reconfigurable IC Market
AOI Technology, Inc. ( AOI, Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President Tatsuo Nagasaki ) is launching a fabless1* semiconductor operation beginning on April 1 this year. This operation will focus on the development and manufacturing of Dynamically Reconfigurable IC*, and manage the component and service businesses of its next-generation semiconductor chips.

Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. ( Olympus, Headquarters: Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, President: Tsuyoshi Kikukawa ) and ITX Corporation ( ITX, Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President and CEO : Akinobu Yokoo ) co-founded AOI as a joint venture on December 4, 2002. Olympus and ITX took equity interests of 66.6% and 33.4%, respectively, in this new venture.
* Dynamically Reconfigurable IC :
This IC has ASIC-level speed, CPU-level flexibility, and the ability to reconfigure the hardware in real-time to provide the best application format.
AOI develops and designs the Dynamically Reconfigurable IC using QuickSilver Technology's Adaptive Computing Machine ( ACM ) as its core. QuickSilver Technology is an American start-up located in San Jose, CA.
AOI will design and manufacture Dynamically Reconfigurable ICs for various vertical markets, including consumer electronics and communications. The first step is to start the fabless semiconductor operation, namely the design and sale of chips, boards, and modules, and to establish a strong presence in the digital imaging business. Next, by utilizing the functionality of the dynamically reconfigurable technology, AOI plans to expand its operation, jointly with Olympus and ITX, to allow customers download intellectual property, namely functions and circuit configuration information. Furthermore, Olympus, ITX and AOI view AOI's unique ACM-based design and development capabilities, as well as its related products and services as strategic assets that will enable all three companies to extend their focus on the digital imaging market to the ubiquitous networking and mobile communications markets. As such, AOI will expand its business focus into a wide range of markets. In the next five years, the three companies plans to create new businesses worth a combined ¥ 100.0 billion.
Rationale for Establishing AOI
Olympus and ITX have combined their resources together to create new businesses, and have carefully evaluated numerous ideas and new technologies. Among various dynamically econfigurable technologies the two company had evaluated, QuickSilver Technology's ACM technology has been determined to provide the most significant benefit to both Olympus and ITX.

AOI was established to provide solutions to Olympus and outside customers with an unprecedented level of flexibility and cost performance. The technological development started when AOI received a license to use ACM technology. Going forward, AOI aims to become an expert on dynamically reconfigurable technologies that extends the ACM.
Importance of Dynamically Reconfigurable Technologies
Recently, there have been a series of announcements of new dynamically reconfigurable technologies, which promise greater flexibility in software processing, high-speed hardware performance and low power consumption. Currently, ASSPs2* and ASICs3*, adapted to process imaging and communications protocol, require high processing speeds. The drawback of these devices is a lack of flexibility resulting from the fact that the device functions are rigidly tied to the applications. FPGAs4* permit users to change functions freely and require shorter lead times for development, but have performance, cost and power consumption problems. Moreover, there are software processing limitations with multi-purpose micro-processors and DSPs5*. Due to these factors, since the early 1990s, research into dynamically reconfigurable technologies has been undertaken throughout the world. Today, the commercialization of dynamically reconfigurable technologies is gaining traction, as evidenced by recent announcements of their usage in consumer electronics products.
Advantages of Adaptive Computing MachineTM ( ACM ) Technology
Existing IC technologies, from hardware resources to software algorithms, share a common problem - they are all non-changeable. This means that circuit logic is rigidly hardwired into the systems during the construction or in the ensuing programming stages, making it difficult to change. Of course, circuit logic is not impossible to modify, but can be done only after making vast investment of time and capital. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to keep up with standards, which are evolving every day.

ACM provides a breakthrough solution. This technology is based on a combination of dynamic hardware resources and software algorithm. The technology is designed to be adaptive and dynamic, the exact opposite to rigidity. ACM is built on two key features- hardware resources that permit circuit logic to be rapidly reconfigured at all times, even after programming is completed and during the operation; and software algorithms that can be easily rewritten, as necessary. This ability is key to developing universal mobile devices that can download any type of software or hardware, as needed.
About AOI Technology, Inc.
Company name :  AOI Technology, Inc.
Address :  14F, 3-2-5 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-6014
President & CEO :  Tatsuo Nagasaki
Established :  December 4, 2002
Capital :  ¥ 225 million
Additional paid-in capital :  ¥ 225 million
Major shareholders : 
Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. ( 66.6 % )
ITX Corporation ( 33.4 % )
About Olympus Optical Co., Ltd.
Olympus is a global leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing optical-digital product solutions for health care and consumer markets. The company leverages R & D investment in technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines that include medical devices such as endoscopes and microscopes, imaging technologies in digital cameras, and industrial systems including non-intrusive testing and semiconductor inspection equipment.
Company name :  Olympus Optical Co., Ltd.
Address :  Shinjuku Monolith, 2-3-1 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 163-0914
President :  Tsuyoshi Kikukawa
Established :  October 12, 1919
Capital :  ¥ 40,8 billion ( As of March 31, 2002 )
Consolidated net sales :  ¥ 52.8 billion ( As of March 31, 2002 )
Employees :  4,345 ( As of March 31, 2002 )
About ITX Corporation
ITX Corporation is an IT business creation company that aims to establish and nurture unique and innovative businesses in four strategic sectors: Life Sciences, Networking and Technology, Mobile Communications and Business Innovation. Publicly traded on the NASDAQ Japan Market ( now Nippon New Market, ( Hercules ) ) since December 2001 and trading under the stock code 2725, ITX generated consolidated sales revenues of ¥ 350.5 billion for the year ended March 31, 2002. As of December 31, 2002, the ITX Group consists of 57 subsidiaries, including Fusion Communications Corporation, Nissho Electronics Corporation and IT Telecom, Inc.
Company name :  ITX Corporation
Address :  14F, 3-2-5 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-6014
President & CEO :  Akinobu Yokoo
Start of operations :  April 1, 2000
Capital :  ¥ 20.5 billion
Additional paid-in capital :  ¥ 27,9 billion
Consolidated net sales :  ¥ 350.6 billion ( Year ended March 31, 2002 )
No. of employees :  143 ( As of March 2003 )
URL :  http://www.itx-corp.co.jp/eng/
About QuickSilver Technology, Inc.
Company name :  QuickSilver Technology, Inc.
Address :  6640 Via Del Oro, Suite 120, San Jose, CA 95119 U.S.A.
President :  Dwain Aidala
Established :  1998
URL :  http://www.quicksilvertech.com/
Notes
1*  Fabless :
Refers to a semiconductor company that does not manufacture its own silicon wafers. Fabless companies outsource these operations to companies that operate manufacturing facilities ( Fabs ), allowing them to channel management resources into R & D, chip design and marketing.
2*  Application Specific Standard Product ( ASSP ) :
An IC developed as a standard device to perform a predetermined, specific function.
3*  Application Specific Integrated Circuit ( ASIC ) :
A microchip designed and manufactured for a specific application. Also called a custom IC or a custom chip. An ASIC can be pre-manufactured from scratch for a specific application or it can be custom manufactured using components from a "building block" library of components.
4*  Field Programmable Gate Array ( FPGA ) :
A programmable LSI that users can program themselves for specific functions using specialist tools. FPGAs, which can be pre-programmed with microprocessor or ASIC specifications, are slower and more expensive than function-specific LSIs, but allow designers to carry out simulations with certain software packages.
5*  Digital Signal Processor ( DSP ) :
A microprocessor specifically designed to process audio and visual data. Often packaged together with modem and other devices, it takes over some of the processing functions of CPUs in personal computers.
*Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. was changed to OLYMPUS CORPORATION as of October 1, 2003.
  • Press releases are company announcements that are directed at the news media.
  • Information posted on this site is current and accurate only at the time of their original publication date, and may now be outdated or inaccurate.
  • Company names and product names specified are trademarks of their respective owners.