Keen to shower the UK and Europe with a little Oriental goodwill, Canon Inc has chosen to mark its fiftieth anniversary celebrations by staging the Canon Expo Europe ’88 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre across the road Westminster Abbey. The Prince of Wales – undoubtedly more impressed by the technology than the architecture – was appropriately chosen to open the exhibition, which continues today and tomorrow, Saturday. Multi-lingual proceedings got under way with an address from the company’s president and representative director, Ryuzaburo Kaku, who elaborated upon Canon’s committment to growth by announcing the establishment of a UKP1m research and development centre based at the University of Surrey’s Research Park in Guildford (CI No 918). Unfortunately, a subsequent bevy of technology-based questions were hampered by predictable language barriers and the apparent collapse of the public address system. President Kaku nevertheless managed to convey Canon’s wish to create individual and autonomous companies around the world, while executive vice president, Dr Keizo Yamaji, having established that Canon now ranks 98 within the top 100 non-US industrial corporations in the world, elaborated upon the company’s development plans for the future – most notably, an erasable optical compact disk in competition with the Tandy bombshell, the alignment of TV production equipment with European standards, the launch of the Super 8mm movie system in Europe, and a unification of European policies to meet the demands of the 1992 Open Market. For exhibition purposes, Canon has colonised three floors of the conference centre with a wide range of its consumer, business, medical and industrial products, closely guarded by army of scarlet-suited impossibly glamorous Canonettes, who perform seemingly round-the-clock demonstrations with fluency that bordered on the automaton. Conference visitors are able to view the quality of their facial features on screen and paper thanks to the Still Video System which records images on 2 floppy disk, and subsequently transmits the images, via a still video transmitter or stationary transceiver, over telephone lines to the system’s video printer. Other key exhibits include the bubble jet printer, which uses inkjet technology and is capable of breathtaking quality 400 dots-per-inch full colour printing at the phenomenal rate of 30 pages a minute – not a finished product yet, and it won’t come cheap when it is. Then there’s the high speed Fax-14003 which comes complete with word processing and electronic publishing functions, and an artificial intelligence calculator which dispenses with keys to enable the user to write in the numbers with a special pen on to a liquid crystal display.
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