When a company says their Global President is in town, you don’t think twice about the chance to sit down and chat about the past, present and future. Yesterday, I sat down with Mr Yasunori Ogawa, President of EPSON during his visit to Australia.

Here in part to join the celebrations of EPSON’s 40 years in Australia, Mr Ogawa has a long history with Epson, rising up through the ranks to President having worked in a range of roles and divisions.

So what do you ask the most powerful man at a brand that represents products like printers, projectors and even smart glasses?

I actually kicked off looking forward, asking about innovations that excite Mr Ogawa, and his answer wasn’t what I was expecting. But we’ll get to that.

He said “the first one is the evolution of printing, not just for everyday printers, but for various applications”. Ok, Not quite the Augmented Reality Glasses I was expecting.

But here’s the thing – did you know, as he explained “you could use our (Epson) print heads for example in printing Large LCD panels or OLED panels” – What? Wow. Now take a glance over at your printer – and imagine that or similar technology is printing out the panels for your next OLED screen. That’s wild!

It’s not just that – he said “also things like wiring, printing metallic wiring” And, in the health and bio-tech space “in place of ink, you could also print (fire) human cells in biotech or chemicals and you can use it in various testing applications”

Mr Ogawa is also immensely proud of the company’s work in the environmental technology space. He pointed out their Paper Recycling Machine which can be used in offices to recycle paper using far less water – but it seems that’s just the star “So it’s a unique mechanical technology that we can recycle paper with very minimal use of water. So far we’ve done paper to paper recycling, but you can also use the technology to recycle paper into like a sponge-like substance, which you could use as packaging in place of polystyrene. And you could, but if you harden it up, you can make it into a substance that’s very similar to, to like plastic, like garden chairs

The mind boggles with the possibilities.

Let’s get back to what I was thinking he would talk about with that future thinking question – the Smart Glasses.

Wearing the Epson Moverio BT-100’s – Yep, I know I look silly

Having used the bulky and funky looking Moverio glasses some 11 years ago, I wondered how far they had come, given what I saw from Oppo just last week in Barcelona.

Mr Yasunori Ogawa pointed to those very glasses, saying “we still sell them. And we’re actually also selling the optical engines that are the core technology. And we actually have the core technology, which are very small OLED panels. Actually our technology has the characteristics of being very energy efficient and very long life.

However one remaining issue is that you need to make the glass is very small and light. That’s a big challenge for the future. And we are doing R&D on that at the moment.”

Seems to me EPSON might become the parts supplier to innovators of the future in this area, kind of how Sony is renowned for their Image Sensors in almost all smartphones, Perhaps in future we’ll hear about EPSON OLED panels or smart glasses technology in other brands.

Fascinating stuff!