Contents start

September 7, 2004
Olympus Future Creation Laboratory and Purdue University
to collaborate on the development of humanware1 ubiquitous systems2
based on sensor / networking technologies
Olympus Corporation (President: Tsuyoshi Kikukawa) has reached agreement with Purdue University (President: Dr. Martin C. Jischke) of Indiana, U.S.A., a world leader in imaging and information technology research, concerning collaboration on the development of a revolutionary image-based ubiquitous systems to support individuals in their various activities. Unlike conventional security systems, the proposed new systems will provide not only safety and security, but also opportunities for participation in intellectual activities. As active systems, they will use a network of sensors to monitor potential risks, record personal preferences, and estimate environmental safety. These data will be fed back to wearable interfaces that will provide guidance, education, and suggestions according to the user's situation and location.
The final goal of the three-year project with Purdue is to develop commercial systems for use with home or community networks in seven years, such as navigation systems for pedestrian safety, and life support systems for the elderly. The project will also include an exploration of potential applications in collaboration with strategic partners, through proposals for future initiatives to improve social infrastructure.
A special research facility, to be known as " The Olympus Room" , will be established within Purdue University's Robot Vision Laboratory. The Olympus Room will be networked with a demonstration facility at the Olympus Future Creation Laboratory to facilitate international joint research and development activities. These initiatives will lead to the creation of future lifestyle values enriched by intellectual activity transcending cultural differences in concepts of security and safety.
Humanware: In addition to hardware and software, humanware also encompasses devices, systems, and solutions designed to help people and enrich lifestyles by integrating human sensibilities, perceptions, and knowledge.
  2 Ubiquitous system: Ubiquitous is derived from a Latin word meaning "everywhere". "Ubiquitous computing" implies the universal presence of computers, while a ubiquitous system is a system that operates everywhere. Such systems operate and interact autonomously in all facets of life and society to support various human activities.
Project background
The activities of the Future Creation Laboratory are based on the view that the development of practical humanware to provide individuals with information tailored to their increasingly diverse lifestyles is an important way to create value for future consumers. Another focus is the balance between security and privacy in a social environment that is saturated with surveillance cameras, allowing individuals to be monitored constantly.
The Future Creation Laboratory will add value to future lifestyles by providing safety, security and opportunities to participate in intellectual activities through two areas of development. First, it plans to develop protective sensor networks based on fixed cameras to help people avoid potential risks and dangers in ever-changing environments. Second, it will develop intelligent artificial eyes (wearable terminal devices) that will retrieve and actively utilize information from networks according to each individual's perspectives, and display appropriate suggestions and navigation information based on the sharing of individuals' perspectives and experiences.
Responsibilities and roles under the agreement
For more than a decade, Olympus and Purdue University researchers have been collaborating on research relating to image search systems and navigation technology. Their roles in this joint research project will be as follows.
  Purdue University : Design and development of software image processing algorithms for recognition of facial and bodily movements through the analysis of human and robot behavior.
  Olympus : Development of system interfaces based on image processing algorithms and backed by 3D digital camera technology, surgery navigation systems and wearable interface technology.
Since its establishment in 1919, Olympus has been a major precision machinery manufacturer involved in the manufacture and sale of equipment for medical, health-related, imaging and information-related applications, as well as a variety of industrial uses. Its core competency is opto-digital technology, which combines traditional optical technology with the latest digital and fine processing technologies.
The Future Creation Laboratory was established in April 2003 to envision the future and create new values based on Olympus' "Social IN" management philosophy. Most research institutes today focus on near-term developments over a time frame of three to five years. The activities of the Future Creation Laboratory are concerned with the longer-term future over the next five or ten years. Its mission is to explore the core competencies needed for future business projects.
Researchers at the Future Creation Laboratory have a unique approach to research. They do not simply attempt to predict future technological developments. Instead they aim to create the future and add value to future lifestyles. The Laboratory's main fields of interest are humanware, brain research and bioscience, and optical nanotechnology. Humanware research is a human-centered approach to the study of hardware and software. The aim is to identify future values based on new ideas.
<Purdue University Profile>
Purdue University is a public doctoral-granting institution founded in 1869. The university has a system-wide enrollment of more than 69,000 students from 50 states and 130 countries. U.S. News and World Report magazine in the spring of 2004 ranked several Purdue graduate schools and departments among the best in the nation. Purdue has the best university work environment in the country, according to a survey of researchers in the Oct. 20, 2003, issue of "The Scientist" magazine.Twenty-two Purdue alumni have been chosen for space flight, including Neil A. Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, and Eugene A. Cernan, the last man to do so.
  • 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.