BreakThrough Interview

Enabling the use of advanced AI technology in familiar edge devicestiwaki Co.,Ltd

<Series 1 (Total 2 series)>


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"tiwaki Co.,Ltd" is a company that develops AI technology that can be used on so-called "edge devices" such as smartphones and tablet devices. Though it is a young company founded in 2016, tiwaki has created many novel and unique technologies, such as various object detection technologies, based on its proprietary "Furinkazan" deep learning technology and "Yoichi," which turns any object into a touch panel. With these technologies, the company is attracting attention both in Japan and abroad. What are the advantages of the company's technologies? What developments can we expect? We will introduce the interview with Xiang Ruan, CEO of tiwaki Co.,Ltd, in a two-part series.

Developing deep learning technology that can be used on edge devices

In recent times, AI has been accelerating the speed of technological innovation in various industries. However, in most cases, if we want to use AI technology for machine learning or image recognition, we need to have high-spec machines capable of processing vast amounts of information and highly-skilled engineers, which hinders AI technology from reaching the general public. The solution to this problem is "Furinkazan," a basic technology for deep learning, independently developed by "tiwaki Co.,Ltd"

"It is much faster, smaller, and more sophisticated than the major deep learning technologies found in the world, and it can be used on edge devices."

Four applied technologies, including "Furinkazan Object," have been newly created based on this basic technology. The object detection technology "Furinkazan Object," for instance, has achieved a ten times or faster effective speed and 1/5 or lesser memory consumption than the model that was considered the fastest and lightest in the world before the development of this technology. At the same time, it is much more accurate.

""Furinkazan Pose," which we presented at the New Value Creation Exhibition 2019, is one of the best multi-person skeleton detection and pose estimation technologies in the world in terms of accuracy, compactness, and speed. Nowadays, many simple face recognition technologies that can be used on edge devices are available. However, I don't think there is anything else in Japan than "Furinkazan Pose" to do multi-person skeleton detection or complex image detection."

We can implement this technology on an embedded computer that can be purchased for less than 20,000 yen. It is expected to be utilized in diverse scenes, such as monitoring trespassing, form checking for athletes, and fall detection.

"Furinakazan Pose" enables highly-accurate multi-person skeleton detection/pose estimation

Also providing technology to make everything a touch panel

At the New Value Creation Exhibition, "Yoichi," a technology that makes anything a touch panel, presented together with "Furinkazan Pose,” also drew attention.

"We are surrounded by a lot of touch panels, such as tablets and digital signage, but preparing such devices costs not a small sum. Therefore, we developed a technology that can turn objects around you into touch panels."

This technology consists of a camera, a computer with proprietary calculation software, etc. The PC reads the movement of your finger or a laser pointer in the camera's field of view and sets the appropriate action for that movement.

"For example, in smart buildings where IoT has been implemented everywhere in the building, many electronic panels for control could be used, but of course, there are limitations in terms of function, installation location, and design among other things. If you use the "Yoichi" technology, you can customize all of such panels to your needs and preferences."

The company sees this technology as a new user interface (UI) technology that will replace smart speakers and gesture recognition.

"Smart speakers may not work accurately due to noise, and privacy issues are inherent to gesture recognition. One more problem with these two UI technologies is that the types of configurable instructions and behaviors are still limited. "Yoichi" solves these problems and enables free and natural communication between computers and humans."

These technology developments are based on the company's goal of "creating AI technologies that allow anyone to use AI on their own easily." In series 2, we will introduce how the company sees the partner companies that the company considers essential to achieving this goal in detail.

Series Wishing to build new solutions with our partners

Series 1 Enabling the use of advanced AI technology in familiar edge devices
Series 2 Wishing to build new solutions with our partners


Company information

tiwaki Co.,Ltd

Founded in 2016 at an incubator facility at Ritsumeikan University's Biwako Campus in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture. The company’s business includes the sale of licenses for its technologies in the fields of machine learning and image recognition, as well as consulting, and contract development services. In addition to "Furinkazan" and "Yoichi," the company has also developed "Onmyoji," an image recognition technology that does not require learning, and "Wadatsumi," a platform for solving underwater problems.

Coverage date November 19, 2020

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