NTT Upgrade showcased some impressive new photonics research this year including more forward progress on building optical Coherent Ising machines. Optical computing uses photons so it can operate at much higher speeds and lower temperatures than computers based on electrons. The density of current designs are not as compact, there is also a lot of work going into making these optical circuits with lithography to bring down the cost like we have with silicon circuits. Many of the optical elements have analogue capabilities which can hopefully perform tasks which are complementary to electronic/digital computers.

We presented the newest version of the Specular Metrology system which is both creating photometric measurements and then applying AI to find defects in manufacturing processes of items like spot welds for batteries, chips or marks in glass, scratches in paint and missing components or solder on circuit boards.

Diffuse image of a motherboard (no shadows and no blown out reflections)

Specular image of a motherboard (the reflectivity of the surface highlights the solder and metal elements)

Normal map image of a motherboard (shows the angle and intensity of the slope of the surface where purple is flat and colors indicate direction)