(LinkAsia: May 11, 2012) Sydnie Kohara: Soon, controlling all home appliances with the ease of one computer screen won't be just for people like Bill Gates. From the folks who brought you the Nintendo Game Boy and the Toyota Prius, some new gadgets now that allow you to control your house remotely and even save electricity while doing it. NHK reports on Japan's latest inventions.
NHK World NEWSLINE Airdate: May 7, 2012
Reporter: Major house builder Sekisui House is selling this home. It takes advantage of three types of energy--solar, traditional fuel and a battery unit--to keep everything running. In the event of a power outage, power comes from the battery unit. The wired house keeps track of electricity and gas use, reducing utility charges.
Tsutomu Shimizu, Sekisui House: Last year was year one for the smart house. This year, they will start to take off.
Reporter: Engineers at Honda began testing last month on a vehicle that uses a battery powered in part by solar panels on the car's exterior. The car is the ultimate remote control. The driver can use it to adjust conditions at home. Commands are transmitted to a small house through the car's satellite navigation system. This makes it easy to run a bath or turn up the heat before they even turn into the driveway. The engineers hope to put their smart car on the market within a couple of years.
Yoshiharu Yamamoto, Honda: We can provide a better quality of life with a car that uses solar energy and an interactive function for smart houses. This will help us to expand sales.
Reporter: Electronics appliance maker NEC Corporation started selling an electricity storage system in March. It gathers electricity generated by the sun and power taken from the grid during the night when prices are lower. Manufacturers are betting on smart technology as part of the solution to Japan's energy supply problems.
Sydnie Kohara: There's another appliance that Japan has perfected, and I'm sure we all wish we had one. A smart toilet. Now we won't talk about all the things it does, but let's just say that according to the manufacturer, Toto, the computerized toilet can cut toilet paper usage by 90 percent.