NEC goes to university to stop virus spread

  • July 19, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

NEC is working with Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, to develop biometric identification technologies and proprietary AI to prevent the spread of illness.

The university and NEC have signed a collaborative agreement to promote the realisation of a safe and secure society through spatial sensing.

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on people’s lives and economic activities throughout the world. Moreover, in the future, it is possible that additional pandemics may occur due to known viruses or currently unknown ones. In response, Hokkaido University and NEC aim to offer virus visualisation services based on spatial sensing technologies developed through collaborative research, and to link these with measures for business continuity planning in the event of a pandemic.

Hokkaido University is a multi-disciplinary education and research organisation that includes undergraduate, graduate, research laboratories and university hospitals. The university supports interdisciplinary research, such as collaborative research that spans multiple departments and facilities across one of the largest university campuses in Japan.

NEC proposes digital transformation that can contribute to solving social problems with digital technologies, such as biometric identification and proprietary AI technologies, in addition to the industry and operational know-how it has cultivated over many years.

To date, Hokkaido University and NEC have been conducting collaborative research on the detection of viruses with biosensors using aptamers and collaborative research on virus aerosol collection methods. Based on these initiatives, the university and NEC aim to contribute to society by expanding this collaborative research.

They are establishing technologies for detection of viruses in the air through collaborative research currently underway. They aim to verify spatial sensing services through implementation of virus detection technology on campus and networking of spatial information. Co-creation of spatial sensing could make use of technologies possessed by both parties. And they plan to expand this research beyond the campus as part of contributing to society.

Through ongoing collaborative research, they plan to establish technologies for detecting known viruses and efficient aerosol collection, aiming to conduct demonstration tests and implement these technologies on campus by fiscal 2023. Going forward, they seek to ensure safe, secure and comfortable conditions by providing spatial sensing services that combine virus detection information with other spatial information to students and campus visitors.

Spatial sensing is a system that measures, collects, analyses and visualises the environmental conditions of a space by various means such as CO2 measurement sensors, virus detectors, cameras and communication networks, and provides the results to users.

Founded in 1876 as Sapporo Agricultural College, Hokkaido University is one of the oldest, largest, and most prestigious universities in Japan. Boasting one of the largest campuses in the country, Hokkaido University houses research facilities, a university hospital and a number of field research centres, including one of the world’s largest research forests.