I began working at Sony in a department developing image sensors for digital single-lens reflex cameras and professional camcorders. From my initial position in circuit design of analog – digital converters that convert analog signals into digital ones, I moved on to supervising entire analog circuits and few years later, I gained experience as a product leader in sensor development. Currently I oversee designs of several products, and participate in drawing mid/long-term sensor technology roadmaps. These apply insight from discussions with my co-managers on what technology we can use to solve current challenges in sensor development, what steps we should take as an organization. Sony semiconductors command a large share of the global market, and in our position, we must constantly read technology trends. We’re always considering new technology no one is involved in yet. This puts us under enormous pressure, but what makes it so interesting to blaze a trail in this field also motivates me. Although development is difficult–because we’re always trying to bring new things into the world – Sony is uniquely positioned to contribute to society and even change people’s lifestyles through our technology.
Recent years have seen closer collaboration with overseas offices. A team I joined lately had Indian and Japanese members in the technology site in joint development with an Israeli team in Tel Aviv. Coming from various backgrounds, we must understand different personalities and working styles to make progress, which is not always easy. This was a great experience, though. Leading global operations improves your ability to express yourself and enhances both expertise and professionalism. Quite recently, my Israeli counterpart in that project came to Japan, and we went hiking together. I value the chance to mingle with people of other backgrounds outside of work. In management, I try to understand team members’ strengths and weaknesses, so I can assign work that people like and excel at while organizing teams to compensate for any weaknesses. This way, we can capitalize on each person’s abilities. Also when I assign work, I make sure everyone has a clear understanding of our goal, but I try to give people autonomy in how they achieve it. Leaving the details to their discretion is exactly why team members might think of things that I didn’t, or even exceed my expectations. And this, in turn, motivates and educates me.
The sensors we have been designing are mainly used for photography or video applications, seen by the human eye. In future sensing applications, however, most images captured will be analyzed by devices or robots. Sensor requirements can vary largely depending on whether the images will be used by a human or a robot. Today no one knows exactly what kind of image sensor technology required for tomorrow, and we are still exploring directions to take.
There is increasing emphasis on integrating more functionality in a sensor chip or using more digital processing (like AI) to process imaging data. Broad range of knowledge is therefore required in developing an advanced sensor system. This offers many career opportunities where people with various technical backgrounds can apply their skills. I think Sony is the perfect place for those who want a broad perspective on technology to learn a lot about their subjects of interest. Besides job rotations, there are also more opportunities to transfer to other divisions you may wish to join. Speaking for myself, I hope to keep taking on emerging technology from a broad perspective, so that we can fulfill valuable new roles in these sensing applications.