Canon’s Research and Development

Advances in technology are having an increasing impact on society, and the pace of development continues to accelerate. To meet the challenge of these rapidly changing times, Canon stays on the cutting edge by actively pursuing R&D around the world.

Canon’s Key Areas of Technology

Canon is pursuing four directions to further expand our business and the technologies we have cultivated through the development of such consumer products as digital cameras and inkjet printers, and such office equipment as copy machines and laser beam printers.

  1. Network cameras: Canon is applying such technologies as optics, image processing, sensors and communications technologies to develop multipurpose industrial camera systems that include intelligent surveillance cameras and wide-area surveillance with a greatly expanded field of view.
  2. Commercial printing: We are entering the huge market for offset printing and expanding the scope of high-mix, low-volume digital printing.
  3. Healthcare: Canon has long been developing its business for fundus cameras and x-ray sensors, but with the addition of Canon Medical Systems to our group, we now have a lineup of diagnostic equipment, including CT, MRI and ultrasound diagnostic equipment. We aim to achieve new advancements in the future by incorporating Canon technologies.
  4. Industrial equipment: Canon manufactures ultra-high-precision semiconductor lithography equipment. As an extension of this business, we are focused on developing manufacturing equipment for organic LED (OLED) displays and MRAM (magnetoresistive memory) and bonding equipment (devices for bonding the semiconductor die to a substrate).

In the long run, by combining Canon’s powerful hardware with software technologies that employ AI, we will be able to develop diverse solutions to meet society’s needs.

Canon’s working concept has been to "make the invisible visible." In the future, as technology improves, we will not only be able to see things that were once invisible, we will also be able to understand and even make assessments based on what we are now able to see.

Three Core-Competency technologies in Imaging

Canon has three core-competency technologies in the field of imaging, where Canon has built its reputation.

  1. Optical technology: Camera performance depends on optical technology, which involves lens design, material selection and such processing technologies as grinding and polishing. In lens processing, for example, error tolerance is down to the nanometer-order level (one billionth of a millimeter). Optics are an exceptionally high value-added analog technology that relies on consummate expertise that cannot be easily acquired.
  2. Sensor technology: Tremendous advances have been made in image sensors. Canon continues to work at the forefront of these key semiconductor devices for digital cameras to achieve higher resolution, sensitivity and functionality.
  3. Image processing technology: Canon’s processing software for improving image quality has contributed to the excellence of Canon’s cameras and printers. The technology is the result of years of pursuing high image quality and has become a major asset for Canon.
Core Competencies in Imaging

Canon utilizes these assets to further develop technologies that take us from "seeing" to "understanding and assessing" the invisible.

This effort will lead to such advancements as intelligent surveillance cameras and diagnostic imaging support. Canon’s core-competency technologies also extend to the printer business—electrophotographic toners, and inks for inkjet printers, and paper handling—another of Canon core strengths.

Where Canon’s Technologies Interface with Cutting Edge Technologies

One use of Canon’s artificial intelligence is for "Computed Aided Diagnosis" in the healthcare field. Canon has developed software to process the image data generated by such diagnostic imaging equipment as CT and MRI and is working to develop technology that uses AI to support diagnostic decision-making, towards realizing diagnoses that won’t miss any signs of cancer. Specifically, we are focusing on technologies that will meet the needs of society that involve processing and sorting vast amounts of image data, image processing that clearly show cancer lesions, and identifying abnormalities in images.

In recent years, Canon has also worked to automate production lines for cameras and office multifunction printers. The IoT will be integral to making further gains in efficiency and we aim to use IoT-based systems as a tool to achieve even greater improvements in production efficiency.

AI and the IoT will play an increasingly vital role in technology from this point forward, but they cannot solve every problem. AI and the IoT are tools that require direction from the user to be in any way effective. Canon, having accumulated manufacturing expertise steadily over time, is well positioned to make effective use of these tools.

Canon’s Propensity for Taking on Challenges

Canon’s greatest asset is our readiness to take on challenges. Our approach is based on the guiding principle of the San-ji (Three Selfs) Spirit—self-motivation, self-management and self-awareness—which has been passed down through Canon R&D as part of our corporate DNA. The essence of the Canon spirit is to avoid making excuses and doing what has to be done to solve problems and get results. Canon retains a corporate culture like that of a local business in that once we decide on a course of action, people from every department come together in a concerted effort to achieve a singular goal.

Canon Technology Site

The site presents a wide range of Canon technologies from various perspectives. Please visit the site.