- Research on processors and hardwares
- Designing system LSIs
- Development of software for tomography electron microscopes
- Vehicle control systems
- Learning support systems
- Information system architecture
Research on processors and hardwares
LSI design technology is used to design processors and hardware engines for image and sound processing. For image processing, our goal is mastery of high-speed codecs for each algorithm in H.264/AVC video compression/decompression technology. For sound processing, we are developing sound processors that can synthesize music from sound sources. We are also designing high speed analog circuitry, such as PLL devices. Through these research programs, we train researchers and engineers who have the background and experience to do productive work in electronic companies without further instruction.
Although our current research objective is to create innovative hardware implementations of AV data compression/decompression algorithms, we also are planning to develop innovative H.264/AVC algorithms.
Designing system LSIs
The development of hybrid cars and other eco-friendly vehicles, mobile phones, digital TVs, and so on, has significantly enhanced the convenience of our lives. System LSIs (Large-Scale Integrated circuits) are at the heart of these powerful industrial products. As demands for system LSIs surge, however, higher functionality and performance are required, giving rise to various issues and challenges, such as increasingly complex designs and a shortage of creative engineers who can tackle problems at the edge of current technology. To address these issues, we are conducting research on system LSIs that provide increased speed with lower power consumption, in addition to facilitating the overall design of system LSIs.
System LSIs can be found in every type of digital electronic device and in other high-tech products as well. Such being the case, enormous benefits may be gained by advancing LSI technology, so that streamlined designs lower costs, reduced power consumption leads to more compact and lightweight systems, and higher operating speeds enhance performance, functionality, and safety.
Development of software for tomography electron microscopes
Tomography electron microscopes are frequently used by medical professionals to observe and analyze organisms by using three-dimensional (3D) imagery. It can take approximately 2-3 weeks before a single organism, together with its internal structures, can be visualized as a 3D image. One specific step that is most labor-intensive is the extraction of organisms and their internal structures from a large number of tomography image slices. We are currently working to develop software for high-speed contour extraction and 3D-visualization, to semi- or full-automate this time-consuming step.
Semi- or fully-automated contour extraction will significantly shorten the time required for an organism to be visualized in great detail. This technology will undoubtedly contribute to progress in medical science and also facilitate research in nanotechnology (semiconductors, and so on).
Vehicle control systems
Aiming to make important contributions to the control technology of the moving vehicles that form an integral part of our contemporary society, we conduct prototype studies, experiments, and simulations of control systems for various types of vehicles, such as automobiles, unmanned carriers, mobile robots, aircraft, and so on. For automobile control system research, we create prototype computer control systems for compact vehicles to study stabilization control when skidding. We also carry out prototype studies of automated kite-flying systems, to further our development of advanced control systems for stable navigation.
We plan to use kites to measure the flow of rivers. The analysis results thus gained will be instrumental to building a system that minimizes damage from flooding and other disasters.
Learning support systems
We study how computers can be used in classrooms so that students can learn more easily and with a minimum of stress. We are currently working on software for studying English words, as students help characters evolve on their PC, iPadR, handheld gaming device, and so on. Because examination questions are necessary to check the results of learning, we are also conducting research on software that taps into the enormous amount of data available on the Internet, to automatically generate questions when particular keywords are entered.
Our goal is to develop software and systems that help students to learn happily and easily, thus making students who do not like to study a thing of the past. We hope that the tools we develop will enable students to spend time pursuing their studies more enjoyably and productively, thereby improving their overall learning environment.
Information system architecture
When building a house, an architect's goal is to create one that is comfortable to live in, by taking into account a variety of factors such as location, appearance, room layout, and available building materials. The process of building equipment and systems that incorporate computers also deals with "architecture". In other words, the most crucial aspect is the design process - optimally combining technical elements such as dedicated chips, sensor technology, databases, and networks. Our laboratory helps students cultivate the knowledge and broad-based perspectives required for this task, thus developing engineers who can design systems that will benefit our society, and take the lead in manufacturing industries.
We are working on the development of convenient and user-friendly equipment in the health, medical, and welfare fields, such as monitoring systems for older people who live alone, walking support systems for the elderly, and electronic white canes for the visually challenged. Our ultimate goal is to achieve a society where senior citizens and the physically challenged can live care-free lives.