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  7. Fujitsu Digitizes Sticky-Note Brainstorming with Proprietary Digital Pen Technology

Fujitsu Digitizes Sticky-Note Brainstorming with Proprietary Digital Pen Technology

Operating costs slashed more than 80% compared with conventional manual electronic input methods

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.

Kawasaki, Japan, March 26, 2012

Fujitsu Laboratories Limited today announced that it has developed an industry-first technology supporting the digitization of results from sticky-note brainstorming sessions by utilizing a digital pen. Sticky-note brainstorming is becoming an essential part of business analysis and idea generation, and is widely viewed as a necessary step in concept-building and the exchange of ideas within many enterprises and organizations. Until now, digitally recording the arrangement and content of sticky-notes for sharing and record-keeping had to be done manually, requiring photographs to be taken of groupings, which took up considerable man-hours. Now however, Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a technology that, by utilizing a digital pen in conjunction with proprietary image processing technology, supports the digitization of individual sticky-note placement and contents from captured images of groupings. This new technology will assist in recalling the brainstorming session and simplifying searches at a later date, boosting usefulness of those sessions, while successfully reducing man-hours by more than 80% compared with conventional manual methods.

Fujitsu Laboratories plans to announce details of this technology at the Technical Committee on Pattern Recognition and Media Understanding (PRMU) to be held in Kobe from March 29, 2012.

Background

Sticky-note brainstorming is becoming an essential part of business analysis and idea generation, and is widely viewed as a necessary step in concept-building and the exchange of ideas within many enterprises and organizations. At Fujitsu, employees are conducting sticky-note brainstorming in field innovation(1) activities together with customers in order to analyze their business challenges. However, since the results of brainstorming sessions can only be recorded, saved, and applied by performing concurrent digitizing operations, such as manually converting the handwritten sticky-notes to text, considerable man hours are required; improving the efficiency of these tasks has been difficult.

Figure 1: Sticky-note brainstorming

Technological Issues

In the past, converting brainstorming results to an electronic form required photographs to be taken of groups of sticky-notes affixed to a whiteboard or wall, and then manually converting the arrangement and content of those notes into text from the captured images. However, brainstorming is usually conducted in lighted environments, and as such, the photographed notes were often too bright or obscured by shadow, making it difficult to extract data from the notes' surfaces automatically using image processing. In addition, the freeform nature of words written on the notes' surfaces caused difficulties in achieving a high degree of precision, even when applying character recognition for handwriting.

Key Features of the New Technology

1. High-precision note area extraction system

This system automatically extracts sticky-note surface area data from images captured by a digital camera with a high degree of precision. Because the system converts the image to a multi-tiered binary format and hierarchically analyzes the results to locate each sticky-notes' surface area, data can be extracted with high accuracy, regardless of the illumination level.

2. Method for mapping digital pen stroke information with sticky-notes

Since pen stroke information can be recorded using a digital pen, character recognition utilizing that information produces results of a higher precision than traditional handwritten character recognition based on images alone. The system collates image data from the extracted sticky-note surface area and the stroke information from the digital pen. It can also automatically input the results of the handwritten character recognition from the digital pen as text in the corresponding note. This enables highly accurate automatic text input.

Figure 2: Digitization technology for brainstorming results

Results

All that is required to use this technology is a PC, a digital camera, and a digital pen. It achieves a reduction in man-hours required for digitization by more than 80% compared with conventional manual input. The results of brainstorming sessions can be easily converted to other formats, including PowerPoint or Excel, enabling utilization in a variety of ways, such as looking back to brainstorming processes at a later date and reorganizing brainstorming data.

Future Plans

Fujitsu will continue to grow its new technology as a resource that provides new and enhanced value to group work. Together with development as a tool to help support Fujitsu's field innovation activities, a variety of application scenarios are being considered based on operational testing, with the aim of commercializing the technology in fiscal 2013.


  • [1] Field Innovation

    Paying close attention to its customers' businesses, "Field Innovation" is Fujitsu's initiative aimed at promoting improvement and innovation together with its customers, by visualizing the core components of "people," "processes," and "ICT," and identifying the substantive challenges therein.

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Over 170,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$55 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011. For more information, please see http://www.fujitsu.com

About Fujitsu Laboratories

Founded in 1968 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Laboratories Limited is one of the premier research centers in the world. With a global network of laboratories in Japan, China, the United States and Europe, the organization conducts a wide range of basic and applied research in the areas of Next-generation Services, Computer Servers, Networks, Electronic Devices and Advanced Materials. For more information, please see: http://jp.fujitsu.com/labs/en.

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All other company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information provided in this press release is accurate at time of publication and is subject to change without advance notice.

Date: 26 March, 2012
City: Kawasaki, Japan
Company: Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., , , , , , , , , ,