Interview with ASKA3D's investor, Makoto Otsubo-2-2

2nd Chapter: 〜The Road to ASKA3D's Commercialization Part2
Interview with ASKA3D's investor, Makoto Otsubo-2-2

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Table of Contents:
This is a continuation of last week's post.

  1. Various Challenges and the Challenge of Overcoming Them

Various Challenges and Overcoming Them

What challenges did you overcome in the commercialization of ASKA3D? Please also tell us about the technical aspects.
We started in a trial-and-error state, first by outlining a business plan called the Early, Middle, and Business Stage. For the initial 2-3 years, we focused on creating prototypes and meeting customer demands in the early stages. We pursued a policy of repeated joint development with manufacturing contractors, emphasizing the improvement of prototypes.

Once we had made some progress in prototype development, the challenge of "sizing up" the aerial display emerged. As we sized up the ASKA3D plate, various challenges arose structurally and optically, raising the hurdle for commercialization.

Specifically, dealing with image distortion was a challenge in scaling up.

Light diffuses spherically in proportion to the square of the distance. Unless we accurately convert the vector components of natural light, the space filter (ASKA3D) introduced during diffusion will affect the image as distortion. Depending on the accuracy of the filter, the image becomes increasingly distorted in proportion to the square of the distance. Since the ASKA3D plate with a small size has a short image distance, the distortion is less noticeable. As we size up, the image distance increases, causing the distortion to be more obvious.

The current glass ASKA3D has greatly improved this distortion issue, but achieving perfect distortion elimination requires improvement at the image element level. Utilizing glass with a thermal expansion coefficient close to zero, among other more costly approaches, is necessary."

Sizing up the aerial display for ASKA3D is not as simple as just making it larger.

Exactly. There were also challenges in imaging, such as "blur" and "decreased brightness." Additionally, issues with the appearance of the plate, such as "warping," "cracks or chips during manufacturing," "haze," "black streaks," and "mirror detachment," arose, all of which significantly affect the quality of the aerial image.

From the outset, ASKA3D has attempted to commercialize using standard glass readily available in the market to ensure stable supply at a realistic cost. Therefore, these challenges were not material-related but rather processing-related issues that needed to be addressed.

To tackle the imaging and plate appearance issues, we collaborated with manufacturing partners' engineers, conducting repeated trials and validations to overcome these challenges one by one.

Manufacturing lines face significant challenges as even minor human errors or the introduction of scratches or contamination of dust can lead to significant losses.

Over the past few years, optimization of technology and fixtures has allowed us to reach the limits of manufacturing technology and accuracy. Currently, we are working on solving various challenges posed by materials.

It was through the process of discoverying and overcoming challenges that led to commercialization and ultimately the current quality.
Please tell us about the evolution of the ASKA3D plate from its initial release to the present.

In the early stages, the focus was on sample production for four years.
Single plate: 150mm square

In the mid-term, the challenge was to commercialize medium-sized products for the next four years. Development and commercialization of single plates measuring 345mm square and tiling products measuring 488mm square and 976mm square were undertaken. The strategy shifted to achieving size increase through tiling, and efforts were made to improve the accuracy of single plates and tiling technology.

In the later stages (the past four years), efforts were made to commercialize large-sized products. Tiling products measuring 488mm square and 1,050mm square have been achieved.

It may be repetitive, but development took place within the constraint that image distortion occurs proportionally to the square of the distance, even with the same material. In tiling, image distortion and misalignment are challenges, and since it is an optical device, it can be said to be a battle against three-dimensional alignment. The key was achieving as flat a surface as possible and ensuring precise three-dimensional alignment. Even a difference of a few microns in the thickness of the element substrate significantly affects accuracy. The size increase beyond 1,000mm posed significant challenges in improving the accuracy of the element substrate, and I believe it would not have been possible to achieve without the cooperation of our partners.

While the phenomenon and basic principles of "aerial imaging by ASKA3D" have remained consistent since the inception of ASKA3D, its processing techniques and manufacturing methods have evolved significantly through continuous research, development, and relentless efforts to overcome challenges.

This time, we learned about the challenges ASKA3D has overcome and how it has reached its current level of quality since joining ASUKANET. Please stay tuned until the next publication. Thank you very much!

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