After joining Sony, I worked in the semiconductor business unit in analog circuit design for image sensors in digital cameras and smartphone cameras. Development for Sony products was only one facet of this unit’s work; much of their work was joint technical development for products of other manufacturers. About five years ago, I was transferred to San Jose, California together with my team, for a new project like this. There we worked with a leading smartphone maker to develop a camera image sensor for their next-gen model. I participated from the product planning stage, when we heard what kind of shooting user experience they wanted to give people. Considering how to best leverage our current technology and taking it further, we developed the new sensor. After the model with this sensor was released and users and friends everywhere said they enjoyed taking pictures with it, I felt a great sense of achievement. My experience abroad yielded all kinds of insight–on user needs, on the vision that guides joint product development with corporate clients, and so on. To a great extent, it has also expanded my perspective as an engineer.
The achievement earned me a promotion after I returned to Japan. Besides working in semiconductor business R&D, I was also in a position to plan and develop my own research themes. I’m currently involved in advanced development of analog-digital converters designed for minimal image noise and power consumption and planning how to use the advancements into cameras of the future. I’m also looking ahead to the next stage of my career. What interests me is not only developing technology but also becoming a leader who sees the big picture, including the earnings structure, and can establish new business. Sony image sensors now about to be used in the IoT, robotics, and other industrial applications as well as mobility applications such as autonomous driving. Our fields of business are expanding rapidly. Sony operations run the gamut and are full of business opportunities. I’d like to take advantage of this to acquire the business skills to launch sensor business that brings new value into the world and to show how we can improve our profit structure in existing semiconductor operations.
Semiconductor’s analog circuit in R&D stage has fascinated me since I was a student. What makes analog circuits appealing is how there’s no correct answer like the zeros and ones in digital technology. Instead, we find answers by combining all sorts of technologies and knowledge. This gives it an enjoyable aspect of problem-solving. To solve the truly difficult problems, you need broad semiconductor knowledge and experience. That’s why for my career, I chose Sony, a global leader in semiconductor operations. There are many semiconductor manufacturers around the world, but as things are, the scope of their design, production, and other operations is fragmented and focused on separate fields of business. In contrast, Sony has end to end semiconductor technology like advanced development R&D, design, production technology, and manufacturing, and there are also opportunities for comprehensive exposure to semiconductor industry technologies. Sony also stands apart because expert engineers in each section are accessible, and you can easily learn from them. As for me, I hope to keep polishing my image sensor’s fascination both in terms of technology and business at Sony, where we can experience everything in the field of semiconductors.