OMRON AI Researcher, Yoshitaka Ushiku, Wins Extended Research Support from the Japan Science and Technology Agency - The sole recipient from among private businesses -

  • June 19, 2019

OMRON Corporation (Head Office: Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, President and CEO: Yoshihito Yamada, hereinafter, "OMRON") announced today that Yoshitaka Ushiku, Principal Investigator at OMRON SINIC X Corporation (Head Office: Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, President & CEO, Director: Masaki Suwa, hereinafter, "OSX"), an OMRON subsidiary responsible for near-future design, has been recognized as eligible for the Acceleration Phase support of the Advanced Information and Communication Technology for Innovation (ACT-I) program by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). He is the sole researcher working for a private business to receive this extended research support from among the FY2017 ACT-I researchers.

ACT-I is a program which, under the management of a Research Supervisor, seeks out and fosters young researchers who will come up with unique ideas to resolve present or future issues people are facing and will face, thereby assisting up-and-coming scientists in establishing their individuality as researchers. A recipient of the FY2017 ACT-I, Ushiku applied for the Acceleration Phase of the program and has been selected to receive extended research support.

As expectations grow higher for AI's practical applications in recent years, image recognition technology is attracting increased attention. Having pioneered image captioning technology since 2011, Ushiku has remained at the forefront of this groundbreaking research field, publishing papers at various conferences, including the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR*1), which is regarded as one of the most prestigious conferences in its field. He has been granted the extended research support in recognition of his past achievements in automatic generation of captions for images and videos and his gumption for pursuing this challenging topic that not many other researchers choose to tackle.

OMRON focuses on future social issues, advances technology development by prominent researchers such as AI and robotics, and will continue to solve social issues through the creation of the near future design that designs backcasting concrete business architecture based on technological innovation.

<About Yoshitaka Ushiku>
After being a Lecturer at the Department of Mechano-Informatics, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, he joined OSX in October 2018 to assume the position of Principal Investigator.

<About Ushiku's research>
"Creation of Technology to Automatically Generate Captions to Various Data"
Research into technology to explain various formats of sensed data in words humans can easily understand (generating captions)

With current image recognition technology, AI can only produce objective, rough captions, such as "This is a cat" or "This is a dog," whereas Ushiku has set a goal of making it possible for AI to generate detailed captions that "are different from one individual to another" and "pay attention to details." Generally speaking, for AI to do so, a large quantity of "teaching data," which links images to their "ground truth," is necessary. Because it takes a tremendous amount of time to manually produce teaching data, Ushiku is working on technology for AI to generate captions from "data with no ground truth captions" or little learning data.

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<Expected outlook of research>
Going forward, Ushiku will continue to advance his research on image captioning technology so that AI can understand the stories in videos and sets of images. If AI can correctly interpret the "stories" of human operators on the production floor, AI can offer additional support for humans by, for example, drawing their attention to errors in the work procedure. By evolving this technology, OMRON hopes to create a world in which harmony between humans and machines is achieved to the extent that humans and machines can collaborate with the ease that humans communicate with each other.

<About the Acceleration Phase support for the FY2017 (2nd )ACT-I Recipients>
■ Number of recipients
11 (Ushiku is the only one to receive support from among private businesses)

■ Research budget
Supporting up to 10 million yen per year for up to 2 years

For details, please visit: https://www.jst.go.jp/EN/index.html

<About ACT-I>
Under the management of a Research Supervisor, the ACT-I program seeks out and fosters ICT young researchers who will come up with unique ideas to resolve present or future issues which people are facing and will face, and support to establish individuality of researchers.

For details, please visit: https://www.jst.go.jp/kisoken/act-i/en/about/index.html

*1 CVPR: IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
One of the most prestigious international conferences in the fields of computer vision and pattern recognition

About OMRON SINIC X Corporation

OMRON SINIC X Corporation is a strategic foothold that creates what OMRON sees as "near-future designs."
It has employed prominent human capital in the fields of various leading-edge technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, Internet of things (IoT), manufacturing, and finance. Each researcher will create "near-future designs" by integrating a business model, technology strategy, and intellectual property strategy, and breaking it down into concrete business architecture based on technological innovation, in order to solve social issues.
The company will also pursue open innovation through collaboration with universities and external research institutions to expedite the creation of "near-future designs."
For more information, visit OMRON's website: https://www.omron.com/sinicx/

About OMRON Corporation

OMRON Corporation is a global leader in the field of automation based on its core technology of "Sensing & Control + Think."
Established in 1933, OMRON has about 35,000 employees worldwide, working to provide products and services in 117 countries.
The company's business fields cover a broad spectrum, ranging from industrial automation and electronic components to automotive electronics, social infrastructure systems, healthcare, and environmental solutions.
For more information, visit OMRON's website: https://www.omron.com/

Contact (media):
Brand Communications Department
OMRON Corporation
Tel: +81-75-344-7175
Contact (OMRON SINIC X Information):
OMRON SINIC X
Email:contact@sinicx.com

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