[Interview] Why Did Casio Equip Digital Photo Frame With Presence Sensor?

Mar 15, 2010
Tomohiro Ootsuki, Nikkei Electronics
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Casio Computer Co Ltd exhibited a prototype of its digital photo frame at Camera & Photo Imaging Show (CP+), which took place from March 11 to 14, in Yokohama City, Japan.

Its commercial production schedule and price have not been determined yet.

With a function to drastically process images, the photo frame can create an image like a painting. The company claims that the function can "turn any picture into an art." Moreover, the photo frame supports wireless LAN and widgets based on Flash Lite 3.1.

However, I thought there is more to Casio. So, I had an interview with the company. And, as I expected, it turned out that the company is not satisfied with existing digital photo frames.

Q: Why does Casio make digital photo frames?

A: We are not making normal photo frames. We are considering what is the third display coming after TV and mobile phone. And the key to such a display is to sensitively adapt to the users' lives and environments.

However, existing photo frames have problems that have to be solved before considering adding new features. For example, a power switch has to be turned on and off, and the same pictures are repeatedly displayed, boring the user.

That's why we equipped the prototype with a presence sensor to eliminate the need for switch operation and make the photo frame blend in with the user's life. Pictures turn into paintings, preventing the user from getting bored. With those features, we would like to make a photo frame into a tool that makes living space more enjoyable.

Q: If a photo frame can measure temperature, recognize a person looking at it and change the displayed image accordingly, it will become possible to show images that are more appropriate for the user.

A: I agree. We will continue to consider what we should do to adapt to the users' lives and environments.

Q: Please let me ask questions concerning components. Sony added an image processing capability to its digital photo frame by using an SoC (system-on-chip) designed for cameras. But, to realize the prototype's function to drastically process images, an SoC for cameras seems to be insufficient.

A: We have not yet decided what image processor to use.

Q: The latest prototype supports Flash Lite as in the case of an Internet terminal of Chumby Industries Inc.

A: The product that we want to produce is different from Chumby's. We will not pursue interactivity but enable users to enjoy images more passively.