System Technologies Laboratories
[ Establishment ]
NEC System Technologies established System Technologies Laboratories in "Keihanna Science CityEin Ikoma, Nara in April 2003. System Technologies Laboratories was created to meet the needs of the broadband and mobile markets. As the market for ubiquitous information access architecture grows, System Technologies Laboratories will bring to market the latest internet solutions.
[ Role ]
System Technologies Laboratories will bring to market new technologies and business models by working between IT Platform Business and SI Services business.
System Technologies Laboratories, working with universities and NEC-funded laboratories, identify basic research achievements which have the potential to create new products and markets in the ubiquitous age. They develop ideas via applied research up to the application layer and introduce them as new products or solutions into the market.
Since its establishment, the laboratory has addressed the development of core products through working with other companies or universities and through communicating closely with engineers in China and India.
[ Our ideal researchers ]
One of the most significant features of System Technologies Laboratories is that the team was created equal teams made up of researchers and software engineers. Within any one research and development project there are researchers and engineers working collaboratively. This is generating very favorable results. In System Technologies Laboratories all of the researchers have three roles: researcher, engineer, and business planner (marketing). A single individual may come up with a new algorithm, conduct product planning based on the idea, and involve company executives and business divisions in driving product development. This person, working with university researchers, also can lead discussions with advanced users regarding alliances or propose a new project as a national project.
Overview of past achievements
In the two and half years since its establishment, System Technologies Laboratories has played a central role in introducing the following first-to-market software products and prototypes:
[ Software products ]
[ Software prototype ]
The following is a detailed description of these new software products:
RoboStudio : Robot Software Platform
RoboStudio is a software product that enables the economic and efficient creation and incorporation of scenarios necessary for the development of robots. RoboStudio's special characteristics include the scenario and scenario interpreter. Robots need to flexibly respond to stimuli and calls from the outside. By previously described rules, including "What to do when" and "What to do for particular events,"this software can activate rules that match the stimuli entering from outside. These rules are called scenarios. On the other hand, the scenario interpreter detects specific events (e.g. stimuli from outside) and activates the appropriate scenario. RoboStudio is also equipped with an authoring tool based on a GUI for simplifying scenario writing.
As an example of an implementation of RoboStudio, we developed the "Hello Kitty ROBO" that was launched by Business Design Laboratory Co., Ltd. in November 2004 in commemoration of Hello Kitty's 30th birthday. We have also developed a tasting robot using RoboStudio which combines our pattern recognition technology with Mie University's infrared spectroscopy analysis technology. We continue to receive inquiries from all over the world since its exhibition at "Expo 2005 Aichi" as the "Health and Food Advice Robot."
StreamGallery : Image Search and Transmission System
StreamGallery is a software product for distributing streaming images. Not only can it distribute images, but it can search and fast-forward particular scenes that the user wants to see by using keywords. StreamGallery utilizes the world's first search engine that links images with comments made within the image (text data).
What makes this product extraordinary is that it can conduct fast-forwarding to a particular scene by using keywords with nearly 100% accuracy. To initiate the same operation by picking out words from video data using conventional voice recognition software, the result would not be practical. The secret of StreamGallery is that it utilizes utterance records (text data) within the images themselves along with the video data. As shown in the diagram, the software matches utterance records with video data after analysis by the voice recognition software. If there are errors in the voice recognition, they will be corrected via reference to the utterance record. Thus, a complete association of an image with the utterance record within the image is established. For example, we can find that the phrase "Consumption Tax" is found in the fifth sentence from the beginning of the video and that this sentence starts at 2 minutes and 47 seconds from the beginning of this video. Therefore, by simply entering a word, users can jump to sentences that include it.
Yamaguchi Prefecture's prefectural assembly has been using StreamGallery since September 2004, and the system has become quite popular among citizens due to its usability.
CyberTrace : Software for Preventing the Leakage of Confidential Information
CyberTrace is the world's first software which is able to trace a file all the way from its creation through editing and copying to deletion. Since it constantly monitors the operations carried out, including registration, revision, deletion, copying, and email attachment of files that are stored on a server and that contain confidential information, it enables follow-up reviews if leakage occurs. The product effectively addresses the increased attention paid to information security today.
For operating CyberTrace on an intranet, all that is required is to implement the agent software on all of the client PCs and to prepare a CyberTrace server. By appointing a specific file as the "file to be tracked,"the agent software will track activities, including editing of the file, partial copies made via cut and paste operations, and delivery of a copy via attachment to an email.
This product is currently offered as "InfoCage: File Operation Monitoring"by NEC Corporation.
RealScape : Fixed Asset Software
RealScape is the world's first software to produce 3-dimentional images of buildings based on aerial photos. It also supports the detection of changes or differences between two images. Differences are detected at the building level. For example; an empty lot in one photo and a building in the same area of another photo can be compared. Or, a two-story building in one photo and a three-story building in another photo can be compared. That same two-story building can also be viewed and expanded, horizontally.
Municipalities are the target for RealScape. Many municipalities take aerial photos of their cities each year in order to compare the photos with previous ones. The purpose of the aerial photos is to help determine the amount of fixed property tax to be collected. Currently, the comparison is done manually. This software automates the process. Since the critical point of this software is not to miss anything, this software extracts even small differences with the final determination made by a human.
RealScape underwent testing in 2004 and was highly rated. The product has been in use since fiscal year 2005.
Tasting Robot is the world's first robot to taste food. Tasting Robot tastes food by using infrared sensors on its left hand. Near-infrared and mid-infrared rays can determine molecular structures as well as the amount of each molecule contained in an object irradiated. Taking advantage of this property, we developed "Food Recognition" technology that can analyze the components of foods, such as cheese or fruit, and then estimate the amounts the components contain.
The robot was exhibited as a "Health and Food Advice Robot" at Expo 2005 Aichi held in 2005. It attracted a great deal of attention worldwide. The Tasting Robot demonstration was covered by many media sources, both inside and outside of Japan, including MSNBC and CNN.
This robot utilizes NEC's "PaPeRo" for its exterior body parts. System Technologies Laboratories believes that turning the five senses into "IT" can be an important platform technology for the ubiquitous age. NEC System Technologies will continue to work on realizing various intelligent sensors that can be embedded in a wide variety of devices.