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Updated on September 7, 2016

Contributing to the International Community through Business Activities

Guided by its founders' spirit of innovation, which emphasizes the provision of creative technologies, products and services, Sony promotes contributions to the international community through its business activities.

Solutions That Make Good Use of Products and Services

Sony's SmartEyeglass and 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector—Playing a Big Role in the "AR HOPE TOUR in Sendai/Tagajo," a Project to Convey the Devastation Caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake

In March 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami wrought cataclysmic losses in Japan, especially in the northeastern region. Five years later, in March 2016, Tohoku University's International Research Institute of Disaster Science teamed up with dmp inc. to hold the "AR HOPE TOUR in Sendai/Tagajo." The idea behind the project is to ensure that the events of that day will never fade from memory.

The AR HOPE TOUR was originally the idea of students at Miyagi Agricultural High School, for whom the tour idea brought home a Grand Prix in 2014 at the National Tourism Plan Competition for high school students (an event sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Japan Tourism Agency). Others then took the idea and turned it into a reality by presenting augmented reality in both video and audio format via a number of Sony products, including the wearable SmartEyeglass, the Xperia™ Z4 Tablet, and a 4K ultra short throw projector. These products were used to create a solution that delivers a strikingly realistic depiction of the destruction caused by the March 2011 earthquake.

In the AR HOPE TOUR, persons can visit the areas hit by the tsunami and put on the SmartEyeglass to experience an "augmented reality" version of the tsunami. Tour participants can also view 360-degree video showing how locations were affected by the earthquake using tablet computers. They further have the option of watching video and images from a 4K ultra short throw projector. These cutting-edge technologies afford a real feeling of the tremendous size and ferocity of the tsunami. There are also "storytellers" with the tour that share their personal experience. The tour shows quite clearly the capabilities of these solutions. Sony will continue working on them to develop applications in disaster preparedness education and tourism.

Working to Address Social Development through the Utilization of Technology

I. Model Study of Community Electrification in Bangladesh Using a Long-life Storage Battery System

From August 2013 through February 2014, Sony undertook a study* in an unelectrified area of Bangladesh (Gaibandha district, Saghata sub-district) aimed at encouraging the effective use of renewable energy generation and improving living conditions and hygiene for local people using a long-life storage battery system** and photovoltaic (PV) panels. Based on the results of this study, Sony has begun considering the feasibility of building a new business model.

Project name:
Electrification of an unelectrified area using solar power generation and a long-life storage battery system

  • To effectively utilizes renewable energy generation and to promote the use of electricity
  • To contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
  • To improve living conditions and hygiene through the electrification of an unelectrified area
  • Project Overview
Research Overview:
  1. Store renewable energy generated by a solar PV system in Sony's long-life storage battery system.
  2. Transfer the stored energy to portable batteries and deliver to 100 households in an unelectrified area to supply power.
  3. This energy enables to replace kerosene lamps with LED light bulbs which consume lower energy. (A portable battery powers a 2-watt LED light bulb for approximately 15 hours.)
  4. Residents can work and study indoors even after sunset. Indoor air contamination is also reduced, thereby enhancing living environments.
  • Be able to charge the long-life storage battery system with solar power generation during daylight hours. The stored energy will be divided into portable batteries and are delivered to the village to supply power for use at night.
  • Residents can work and study indoors even after sunset, which leads to an improvement in residents' quality of life.
  • Inside the houses, air contamination by kerosene lamps is reduced.
  • The power is also used to charge widely used mobile phones and enhances convenience.

Secondary benefits:
The project employed InfoLady***consultants to deliver portable batteries to each household and undertake programs to promote the uptake of the system. The InfoLady program is managed by a local NGO, and can be described as "a consultation-based assistance program carried out for women and by women." By utilizing the InfoLady program, the project promoted increased employment of local women and contributed to their empowerment.

Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. has subsequently been collaborating with the local startup Solaric to study ways of using solar power generation and storage battery systems to bring electricity to unelectrified areas in developing countries.

Details on this study are here.

Sony used an olivine-type lithium-ion iron phosphate battery, which boasts a very stable crystalline structure, and even at high temperatures the material exhibits excellent thermal stability. Sony also applied its proprietary powder-design and cell-structure technologies to realize high output and long battery life of over 10 years (in the case of a room temperature of 23 ℃, and charging/discharging once per day).

This is an action program managed by the local NGO, D.Net. The program seeks to organize entrepreneurially minded women in rural areas. At present the program covers 12 areas from 13 offices, with approximately 80 women acting as InfoLady consultants. The participants use netbooks, digital still cameras and mobile phones while making rounds in their assigned coverage areas on bicycles. They provide information and knowledge necessary for life in rural areas (related to health and hygiene, legal matters affecting women and agricultural matters). This program is attracting significant worldwide attention as a successful case of ICT use in a developing country for poverty reduction and empowerment of women.

II. Solving Social Issues in Urban Bangladesh by Utilizing IC Card Technology

  • Commuter in Dacca, Bangladesh, pays his bus fare using a SPASS IC card
Sony is involved in activities that aim to solve social issues in urban Bangladesh by using Sony's FeliCa™ contactless IC card technology.

In the capital city of Dacca, a majority of people use buses for their transportation, which causes traffic jams that have become a social problem. Moreover, people typically have to purchase paper tickets by the roadside for every boarding, which is inconvenient and makes it easy to dodge fares.

To help solve such problems, an IC card-based system using FeliCa technology was introduced in 2011 to replace the paper tickets. In addition to improving convenience for passengers, it realized speedy boarding and alighting time and the utilization of incoming and outgoing records to optimize bus operation management. The system has also contributed to the alleviation of traffic jams and the improvement of air pollution, and made fare collection more transparent.
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