The camera is the result of the researchers’ eagerness to commercialize cutting-edge signal processing and their ability to work flexibly. Yako joined Panasonic in 2019 after earning a PhD in photonics, a branch of physics concerned with photons and their applications. He specialized in silicon photonics, a discipline that was finding industrial applications, and decided to bring his talents to Panasonic because he wanted to introduce new things to the world.
It was there that he met project leader Atsushi Ishikawa, another young scientist who had done postgraduate research in spectroscopy before joining the company in 2018. Ishikawa also wanted to contribute to society by doing basic research that leads to products.
In 2019, Ishikawa and Yako began their work on a more sensitive, practical hyperspectral camera. The challenge involved fields such as manufacturing and software that were outside their areas of expertise. In an unusual process for Japanese companies, project members were flexibly assigned, and other experts joined the team, made contributions, and then left. The scientists credit this constantly evolving, multidisciplinary nature of the group with the success of the project.
“Panasonic’s unique strength lies in the fact that experts could work closely together in the three key fields needed to bring about this innovation,” says Ishikawa, a leader of the team. “Namely, the technology for hyperspectral imaging, manufacturing innovation for the filter system, and various other departments that worked on software development.”