Operability as It was Meant to Be User Interface Technology

User interfaces (UI) for mobile information terminals and other devices are evolving at a rapid pace. As a pioneer in the development of advanced UI technologies, Canon is working to realize new breakthroughs in the field.

The Ever-Increasing Importance of UI Technology

photo: The Canola 130, the world's first 10-key electronic calculator (1964) / The NAVI, employing a touch panel UI (1987) / The Ai Note, enabling handwritten input (1989) / The CF-H7CL faxphone, offering voice-activated operation (1998)

Today's mobile information terminals, such as smartphones and tablet PCs, have user interfaces that go beyond simply offering easy and efficient operability, they make using the devices enjoyable, reflecting an evolution that creates new value and relationships between users and the systems.

Canon was quick to release innovative products incorporating advanced UI technologies, such as the world's first 10-key electronic calculator in 1964, a GUI employing a touch panel display in 1987, and, in 1989, handwriting and voice recognition, and eye control.

At present, the company is engaged in the development of a variety of technologies, including gesture recognition and mixed reality (MR), to realize UIs appropriate for advanced functions and services.

Grasping Users' Intentions

Through its user interfaces, Canon aims to realize performance in accordance with users' wishes, which requires that instructions from users are accurately understood, and their purpose, meaning and intention properly conveyed to the system. To achieve this goal, while also further reducing the burden on the user and contributing to universal access, Canon seeks to expand the utilization of detection and recognition technologies for handwriting, voice and gestures, which are essential in realizing multi-modal UIs (which make use of different senses, such as sight, hearing and touch).

Display Technology for Guiding Users

It is important that user interfaces not only provide sensory feedback matching users' instructions, but also accurately display (output) the system's status and operating results, as well as information needed for subsequent operations.

To make this possible, Canon created a range of supporting technologies that function regardless of the size or type of display being used, including rendering technology for optimal display results; smooth animation, video and 3-D display technology for rich expression; and visualization technology that enables the visual display of information that normally cannot be viewed as such.

Further Evolution of User Interfaces

In the future, user interfaces will not only need to automate a variety of functions, but also provide simpler and more intelligent customization and personalization. In order to enable performance in accordance with users' wishes, it is important to newly apply technologies used in non-UI areas, including machine learning, authentication technology, semantic searching and database linking.

Furthermore, it is through embedding and implementation that ensure these new technologies are executed smoothly and function responsively, without detriment to the product or system performance, that a UI can accentuate a product's excellent functions.

The evolution of Canon technology continues with the aim of realizing UIs that provide new value by creating a positive relationship between user and system.

Searching an image database using semantic technology
A collaboration system that uses gesture recognition