Almex

BUILT WITH Qt

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The "My Number Card" reader development embraced the Qt Integrated Development Environment

Established in 1966 in Japan, Almex specializes in developing and selling various advanced products and services. These include self-service machines such as KIOSK terminals and self-check-in machines, reception management systems, customer management systems, sales management systems, reception and guidance display systems, and video delivery systems (content services). Almex's solutions aim to enhance operational efficiency and convenience for users in various sectors, including healthcare institutions, hotels, restaurants, golf clubs, and amusement facilities. With a focus on providing cutting-edge technology, the company has secured a leading market share in many sectors. 

Almex uses Qt to develop "Mynatouch," a card reader with face recognition that supports online qualification verification. With Qt, the company has significantly reduced development costs and time, improved efficiency and maintainability, and achieved high quality. 

* "My Number Card" is an ID card that can be used as a health insurance card and for applying for government services and the like in Japan. 

No. 1

Share in automatic payment units in Japan

700

Employees (as of 2021)

Qt Solution Highlights 

A single programming language (QML) for improving development efficiency and maintainability

A quicker application development process for reducing required resources

Quicker-to-refine and customized UI designs with QML

Increased testing for excellent quality 

We focused on the following three points: high-accuracy OCR reading, quick and accurate face recognition, and screen design that is easy to read and understand even for the elderly. "My Number Card" features characters written in "Mincho" font on a complex patterned background. It requires advanced technology to read the face picture on the card accurately. We developed our own OCR engine using AI. With repeated tuning and optimization, the error rate of Mynatouch has been reduced to a few percent, enabling us to achieve high reading accuracy and speed.

Susumu Inoue, Almex Managing Executive Officer and CTO, R&D Division, and Project Leader for Mynatouch

Almex - mynatouch

Optimizing Human Resources Allocation and Increasing Efficiency With Modern Development Environment

In Japan, the introduction of "online eligibility verification," which will serve as the basis for medical DX to effectively utilize patients' medical information and provide better and safer medical care, has become mandatory in principle from April 2023. In the preparatory stage, Almex started the development of card readers with face recognition and developed Mynatouch. The product has been frequently covered in media and has become a significant topic. In addition to the face recognition function, which performs highly accurate identification by matching the face photo data of the "My Number Card" with the face photo of the person photographed by the machine, Mynatouch can also read medical tickets and various insurance cards and store the image data. The model has many advantages over competitors' products, including a large 8-inch screen and a 2.5D infrared camera to prevent spoofing.

To run AI, OCR engine, and face recognition engine at high speed, Almex selected Debian Linux as the OS. The company prioritized unifying the development environment to develop various functions based on Debian efficiently. 

Read more about developing with Qt on embedded devices

We have developed many systems over the past 50 years, and in the process, we are using different programming languages within the company. This led to a need for optimal allocation of human resources. To improve efficiency, it was necessary to modernize the development environment. That is why we decided to utilize Qt for UI/UX development for Mynatouch and gradually unify our programming languages.

Susumu Inoue, Almex Managing Executive Officer and CTO, R&D Division, and Project Leader for Mynatouch

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Flexibility of Multi-Platform Support and Rapid Development Through Task Decentralization 

There were three main reasons Almex adopted Qt for UI/UX development for Mynatouch.

  1. Flexibility to support multiple devices and platforms: Qt had the advantage of enabling the development of applications that could run on various platforms with one source code, including embedded devices running on Linux and Windows. In addition, Mynatouch uses ARM processors, and Qt also provides support for ARM. 

  2. Speed up development by decentralizing tasks: Almex used QML for front-end UI/UX, C++ for back-end, and Go for business logic to increase development speed by having three teams work concurrently and collaboratively. By consolidating the development environment into Qt, we aimed to document the architecture and prevent individualization.

  3. Compatibility with Mynatouch: Since the face recognition function of Mynatouch was developed using C++, Almex thought it would be most efficient to use Qt, which was compatible with C++. In addition, Qt had excellent graphics rendering speed and screen switching response and supported OpenGL, which Almex highly appreciated. 

 

Try Qt for Your Embedded Devices

There are many advantages to using Qt in developing Mynatouch, including shorter learning time for entry engineers, a more efficient development process, fewer resources required, and higher quality delivered to our customers. 

Susumu Inoue, Almex Managing Executive Officer and CTO, R&D Division, and Project Leader for Mynatouch

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Benefits Gained by Almex to Build With Qt

  1. Reduction in learning time: Entry engineers can participate in the development within weeks instead of months or years, thanks to Qt enabling applications development with only the basic parts of QML

  2. Reduction in development costs and time: Throughout the process of accommodating various requirements, Almex has iteratively made design changes to the initial model of Mynatouch. With QML, improvements such as button placement, size, design, and images could be quickly refined. Having demonstrated the feasibility of low-cost development with Qt, Almex plans to further enhance efficiency by encouraging designers to utilize QML.

  3. Improved development efficiency and maintainability: Almex has several systems developed in multiple programming languages and maintained for over 20 years. Therefore, improving readability by reducing the number of lines of code using a highly functional framework and reducing the migration cost when upgrading major framework versions was important. Using QML makes it possible to achieve such a goal, making it easier to identify and address areas for improvement and customize Mynatouch quickly. In addition, recent versions of Qt have become more migration-friendly, so there is no concern about performing a major version upgrade for Qt in future developments, even for the next generation.

  4. Excellent quality: Given the shipment of tens of thousands of Mynatouch, the testing phase requires more person-hours than development. Utilizing Qt allows for an extended focus on testing, ultimately contributing to the maintenance and enhancement of product quality. In addition, another major advantage of Qt development is that there are almost no errors.

 

Try Qt for Your Embedded Devices

Thanks to Qt, I have the impression that more engineers find product development interesting, feel more encouraged to programming, and can immediately get involved in actual product development. I strongly hope that this example of using Qt in Mynatouch will lead to new motivation for existing Qt engineers and young engineers who are interested in Qt. 

Susumu Inoue, Almex Managing Executive Officer and CTO, R&D Division, and Project Leader for Mynatouch

desktop imagery

New Motivation for Existing Qt Engineers

With the success of Mynatouch and contributions to society as milestones, Qt Group will continue to support Almex as they fearlessly explore new markets and engage in research and development of innovative systems.
 
Almex further intends to utilize Qt for all UI/UX development of new KIOSK terminals and new products to be released, aiming to unify the development environment to optimize and effectively utilize development resources.

 

Try Qt for Your Embedded Devices

Read More About Developing Scalable Embedded Systems with Qt

 

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