Conceiving Breakthroughs Ahead of Their Time

Addressing climate change on a global scale and prolonging healthy lifespans coinciding with the rapid aging of society are just a few of the countless pressing issues that must be resolved to ensure the lasting prosperity of humanity. Efforts to solve these kinds of more intricately entwined problems, however, will without question rely on solid science and the latest technologies. Yet doing so will also require a multifaceted understanding and insight that simultaneously satisfy “individual well-being” and “the sustainability of society.”

Overcoming these technological issues therefore demands a deep understanding and embrace of mathematical engineering, social science, and other fields, as well as the active incorporation of quantum technology, bio-electronics, and other cutting-edge technologies together with the pursuit of breakthroughs that exceed conventional boundaries.

As one of the rarest of innovators, Sakichi Toyoda’s will of “Respect the spirit of research and creativity, and always strive to stay ahead of the times” lives on within us, and opening the door to the future is our mission.

Key Themes

Manipulating extraordinary physical phenomena to realize devices that go beyond limitations

Invisible to the naked-eye, quantum mechanics, which is a physical law different from classical mechanics, is known to be established, and in recent years, research on devices applying its unique properties has attracted much attention. Likewise, we aim to enable convenient measurements and diagnoses of electrical circuits and living organisms by employing quantum sensors that can simultaneously measure infinitesimally weak magnetic fields, electric fields, temperatures, and other types of physical information. We are also undertaking the challenge of achieving ultra-high efficiency for visualization devices that utilize photon quantum entanglement and for mechanical components that apply the Casimir effect.

Schematic of a SiC-base quantum sensor

Challenging new approaches to manufacturing by leveraging biological functions

Quality of life declines dramatically when the five senses or bodily functions are partially lost due to age, accident, or illness. Although braces and monitoring devices that compensate for reduced functioning, for example, have been commercialized, issues remain from the perspective of improving wearability and reproducibility. With the goal of dramatically improving compatibility with living organisms and the reproducibility of human senses, we aim to create sensors that employ the high-speed information processing and transmission systems possessed by nerves, as well as biological function amplification and restoration devices that connect nerve cells with semiconductor devices.

Concept of biological amplification and restoration using artificial nerve patterning and soft actuators

Deriving previously unseen substances using ultimate computing capability

Although simulation technologies have already been used to enhance the efficiency of materials development, efforts to reproduce complex reactions have faced difficulties because of the enormous computational complexity required to calculate the electron states that determine the properties of materials. We therefore work to establish chemistry calculation methods using quantum computers, which hold the potential to directly simulate quantum states. Similarly, we aim to create innovative materials that will help CO2 reduction by applying this approach to elucidating complex reaction mechanisms and the search for materials.

Conceptual image of a material design calculation using quantum computing to explore the most stable structure

Augmenting creativity through human–AI collaboration

Human-centered AI cannot be achieved without understanding human emotions and being close to humans. We are currently developing human-centered AI with a focus on human–AI collaboration in visual industrial design. Our goal is to design effective interactions that create synergy between humans and AI to enhance the creativity of the whole system, including humans and AI. We will address this challenge through an interdisciplinary approach that integrates knowledge from various research fields such as computer science, information engineering, cognitive science, and psychology, thereby contributing to the future of automotive manufacturing.

Human-in-the-loop AI system

Elemental Technologies

Quantum Devices, Semiconductors/Optical Properties of Condensed Matter and Atomic Physics, Mathematical Informatics, Quantum Computing, Mathematical Physics and Matter Physics, Materials Informatics, Statistical Science, Nanomaterials, Material Conversion and Catalysis