Message from Co-CEOs
Development of Implant Devices Based on Medical Necessity
Co-CEO Dr. Tanabe has been conducting research and development on biomedical implants at Stanford University on the theme of "Electroceuticals as a replacement for drugs." The first application was a cardiac pacemaker. Because of the heavy burden on patients of changing batteries and the number of deaths every year due to infections from lead wires, we developed a "rice grain-sized pacemaker" that could be implanted directly into the heart using a catheter. As the size of the device became smaller, it was necessary to supply power from outside the body to the inside of the heart by some method of wireless power transfer, since the battery could not be used. We developed a transmitter called a metasurface, which can control electromagnetic waves and concentrate its energy within the body, and succeeded in operating pacemakers implanted in the right ventricle, right atrium, and left atrium completely wirelessly for the first time in the world at that time.
Other examples of our research and development include optogenetics, which uses light to stimulate nerves, and most recently, we are developing a device to treat Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is a disease in which it is difficult to transfer information from short-term memory to long-term memory, and we are conducting research to fundamentally treat Alzheimer's disease by implanting a chip between the short-term memory and long-term memory, and allowing the chip to retain information through synapses. Needless to say, if this device is connected to the Internet, it will become a BMI (Brain Machine Interface), which means that the necessary information will be installed directly in the brain when it is needed.
Digitalization in various areas is advancing rapidly due to the coronavirus disaster, but where are these digitalizations heading to? For example, the smartphone is often referred to as if it is synonymous with digitalization. However, our thought is that the data from the smartphone is converted into analog information when processed in the brain and thus it's not the ultimate digitalization, although the smartphone itself is digital. Perhaps in ten or twenty years in the future, people will say, "Why have you been using something that is so heavy and expensive and will break if you drop it? lol".
So, what is the ultimate digitalization? As mentioned earlier, it is a world where information is installed directly in the brain. Based on the WPT technology, our company has contact points with various fields in many different countries. Although the form of digitalization varies depending on each field, the final destination in every industry is the ultimate digitalization, and so-called "digital twin" or "DX" only means the process on the way to the destination.
The Next Key to Digitalization = IoE Society
The ultimate digital society will be realized in the near future, and the keyword for the next era will be the "Internet of Everything" (IoE) society. In the IoE society, everything will be connected to the internet, including plastic bottles, pens, and paper that you hold in your hand. As of 2021, infrastructure for the 5G society is being prepared, but the 6G standard, which is planned to start in 2029, is based on the premise of this IoE society, and standards have already been formulated in various countries. In fact, the word "WPT" is included in the blueprint of IoE society, because such society cannot be realized without the social implementation of WPT technology. This is because traditional wiring and battery technology will not be able to provide power supply to connect countless devices to the internet and the IoE society cannot be realized without WPT technology.
Implementation to the Market
Our business domain is centered on "Factory Automation (FA)", "Building Management", and "Medical." In the field of factory automation, for example, our WPT technology enables "maintenance-free" operation by using that technology to operate all sensors in a factory. There are quite frequent disconnections particularly in movable parts of machines, causing stoppage of the production line and large amount of opportunity losses. Our company addresses this issue by applying our WPT technology and eliminates the concept of "wire disconnection."
In the building management field, the digitalization of airspace has not progressed due to high cost of replacing wires and batteries, while there is a demand to install many sensors. Through our WPT system, we can operate not only temperature and humidity sensors but also all kinds of "digital signal processing devices" such as CMOS cameras. These FA and building management businesses have a wide range of applications, and will enable wireless powering of a variety of devices for the IoE society.
A New Emerging Market: Implantable Devices
As the world moves forward, information inside the body will also be digitalized. For example, a cardiac pacemaker will also become a sensor to measure the pulse, and all the information in the body will be converted into digital data, which can be used not only for treatment but also for prevention of diseases. In addition to the heart, it will also be possible to acquire a variety of other biological data, such as the state of the blood and sensing of tears, that has not been possible before. The ultimate form of this is BMI (Brain Machine Interface), which will be able to deliver information to the brain and connect information in the brain to the cloud. In recent years, implantable devices have been drawing a great deal of attention, and Mr. Elon Musk has launched Neuralink, Inc. and started animal experiments to put chips in the brain.
Our laboratory is also engaged in the research and development of brain chips, and continues to work with Stanford University and other researchers around the world to develop the world's most advanced technology.
The Ultimate Digital Society
Thirty years apparently seems a long time, but actually short, and it's enough for overwhelming change. Who could have ever imagined in 1980 that smartphones would become so widespread around the world? In the next 30 years toward 2050, we will contribute to realize the ultimate digital society and to create the world in which the information acquired is seamlessly connected to provide services that are beneficial to humans.
The IoE society will be realized in 10 years. The word "sensor" will become obsolete, as we will be able to obtain a variety of data from glasses, paper, plastic bottles, and so on. The data obtained will be uploaded to the cloud, and within 30 years, this information and biometric data will be connected and we will be enjoying new services. We are a rare presence that can hold biometric data, and is proud to be one of few players that can achieve these ultimate digital society.
In recent years, there have been discussions on a singularity in which AI will surpass humans, but the world we want to realize is one in which humans use and control AI. (A chip is placed in the brain but is controlled by humans.)
We will continue to strive for the realization of such a society. If you share our vision, we invite you to join us.
Let's change the world together (Die Luft der Freiheit weht).