Message from Director

Today's IT society is an extension of the electronics technology that came out of Silicon Valley. While it has brought major innovations to our lives, the limitations of this technology and rifts in this technological tradition have been pointed out in recent years, such as how "it cannot escape from the small screen" and "people must adapt to the technology."

By proceeding comprehensively with various developments toward the practical application of the world's fastest graded index plastic optical fiber (GI POF) possessing super high bit rate, and optical functional film for high-resolution large screen displays--the fruits of our laboratory's photonics polymer technology--we aim to "create a face-to-face communication industry" through high-resolution real-time images and large screen displays which achieve an overwhelmingly realistic sense of presence. We are specifically proposing "capillaries of light" utilizing GI POF in the form of an optical information communication network stretching meticulously throughout Japan into homes and buildings etc., as well as a "new liquid crystal display" using new photonics polymers called highly scattered optical transmission (HSOT) and zero-birefringence polymers.

Presently, existing glass optical fiber makers have been trying to outfit this optical information communication networks to the terminals. However, as glass optical fiber requires high precision alignment due to the small diameter, its diffusion is proceeding with difficulty. On the other hand, high precision alignment is not necessary by using GI POF with large diameter which is flexible, difficult to break, and easy to process and lay, enabling a low-cost and very simple optical information communication network comprised of "capillaries of light" to be built. This is not simply a matter of replacing existing glass optical fiber, but building a more simple optical information communication network within homes and buildings using GI POF.

In addition, the new liquid crystal display (LCD) proposed by this R&D has succeeded in reducing to almost zero the biggest demerit of former LCD's which was color change and color irregularities ("mura" problem) without employing expensive retardation film, and higher image quality at lower cost can be expected. It has also been said in the display industry in recent years that LCD's have been developed to their limit and that the market is now characterized by competition for lower prices, although performance problems still remain unresolved such as with color change and mura. This new LCD has the potential to win the price competition in display industry with higher quality and performance than ever before.

The efforts of a many stakeholders supporting this R&D have come to fruition, such as by enabling the elderly living in nursing care centers to easily connect with their families remotely from their homes through face-to-face communication which provides a realistic sense of presence and the warmth of being surrounded by family members. It is my intention to diligently invest all my efforts to achieve our research themes with a sincere wish to move a step closer to realizing a society where people can interact with one another in peace of mind and safety, and where people can become people once again, which cannot be realized through the existing small screen market.

April 1st, 2010
Yasuhiro Koike

Professor, Faculty of Science
and Technology, Keio University,
Director, Keio Photonics Research Institute