There was something different in our fourth factory study tour on the 21st of December 2011 when we visited Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Unlike previous study tours that we observed the factory, this time we visited the Research and Development (R&D) Group and had a look on Information Technology R&D Center and Industrial Design Center. The Information Technology R&D Center is responsible for creating a safer and more secure information and communications technologies in areas such as encryption, video coding, antennas/microwaves, etc. On the other side, Industrial Design Center is responsible for designing products such as home appliances and electronic devices to reach the consumers’ satisfaction and make user-friendly products.
After welcoming greetings and the introductory presentations of the two R&D Centers, Miss Kawahigashi, the Head of IT R&D Center, presented her seminar titled “Cyber Security : Industry Challenges and Way Ahead”. She talked about the definition of Cyber Security and its threats, then how Mitsubishi’s IT R&D Center combats the threats. Next, Mr. Yamada, the Head of Industrial Design Center, elaborated about design technology that they conduct with three principles, which are Product Design, Interface Design, and Concept Design. Besides, they have another important principle called Universal Design. Herein, they design products which convenient for all customers including aged people and disabled people. For example, they produce elevators which have eye-catching “open door” button to reduce operation mistakes by visually impaired people.
Afterwards, the tour began. Firstly, we were brought to Advanced Design Technology section, which is belong to Industrial Design Center. There, Mr. Yamada explained that his group were not just design products on a paper or software, but they also made the prototype. He showed us a prototype of the future car’s navigation system that they have designed to be realized someday. Next, he showed us the “safe rice cooker” that does not produce steam which usually harm children (Look the figure below). As the result, they won Kids Design Award 2009 for this product. Not only safety, they also care about consumers’ comfort and easy operability when using their product. For instance, they developed vacuum cleaner that has smooth rotation for easy carrier because they installed five rotational wheels under the round-shaped vacuum cleaner.
Next, we observed the information technology sections. First, we went to Multi Screen Display Technology section. They displayed 12 LCDs that were put together and can serve as a big screen by adjusting the timing of pictures which trasmitted to each LCD. This big screen often used to share information among operators or officers and usuallu used in meteorological center or police center. Second, we were explained about Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) technology. IPTV is a system through which television services are delivered using the internet protocol suite, instead of using antenna for broadcasting. It is bringing Video on Demand (VoD) to television which permits a customer to browse online program or film catalog. Customers even can do shopping through the television installed with IPTV.
Then, we entered Information Security Technology section. We watched a movie about how important the information security technology is in the middle of technology era these days. Furthermore, they develop communication hardware and transmission protocols that provide highly reliable real-time transmission of large volume of data as well as integrated ID management technology which prevent identity theft. The last section that we observed was HTV/Antenna Technology section. Herein, we got to know that they’re progressing in research antenna technologies for various applications, such as mobile communications, satellite communications, radar, etc.
From this experience of visiting Research and Development group of Mitsubishi Electric, I might say that Mitsubishi Electric strives hard to fulfill customers’ expectation and makes better technology in the future. I’m grateful to have a look on the technology development they are conducting.