Fair touts smartphone-linked homes


Wed, Oct 03, 2012 - Page 13

Homes where every device is linked up and can be controlled by smartphone were touted in Japan yesterday when Asia’s biggest tech fair threw open its doors.

Manufacturers said more and more items — from ovens to cars — were now able to integrate thanks to better wireless technology, offering convenience and the chance to save energy.

More than 600 companies are showcasing cutting-edge gadgetry at this year’s Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) in Makuhari, near Tokyo.

One of the highlights is “smart innovation” which connects home appliances — from washing machines and air conditioners to security cameras at the door — to mobile devices.

“You will soon be able to use your smartphone or tablet PC as if it is a remote control for all these appliances,” Shuji Tomaru of Japanese mobile-phone carrier NTT DoCoMo said.

Residents, he said, could also use their phone to switch on the air conditioner or washing machine before they return home.

Panasonic, which has already unveiled rice cookers and washing machines that can be controlled from a mobile phone, yesterday demonstrated bathroom scales and blood pressure-measuring devices connected to the Internet.

Japanese car giant Toyota used its first appearance at CEATEC to show off its new Smart Insect car.

These small electric vehicles recognize their driver and can be programmed only to operate if they know the person behind the wheel.

In a move apeing the gestures that are becoming increasingly familiar as the use of tablet computers spreads, the car will do things like open its door at the wave of an arm.

“The Smart Insect is a car which can communicate with you, your home and society,” Toyota’s Shigeki Tomoyama said.