Home Control
Inside Panasonic’s Concept Home
The futuristic abode combines all of the company’s latest ecological and universal design concepts.
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The “Ubiquitous” living room is home to a 103-inch, multi-functional plasma.
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August 18, 2008 by Chuck McKenney

Imagine lying in a bed capable of detecting whether you’re asleep. Once you doze off, sensors pick up on your decreased heart rate and command the TV and lights to power off. Get up for a midnight run to the kitchen? The lights come one once your feet touch the floor. These are just some of the features in Panasonic’s Eco & UD (Universal Design) Concept home.

The two-story house consists of eight rooms including a living room, kitchen, an energy corner with a fuel-cell co-generation system, a high-quality home theater with a universal remote control for operating all A/V equipment, wellness center and the bedroom that promises a good night’s sleep.

Living Room & Theater
A 103-inch, lead-free plasma is the focal point of the “Ubiquitous” living room. As you can imagine, it’s more than a big screen TV. It’s used to control energy usage, monitor the security system as well as entertain the family. When in-sync with a community surveillance system, a parent can actually watch their child walk to school. Inside the sound-proof home theater you’ll find a Blu-ray enhanced plasma and 7.1 surround sound system. The lighting and curtains can be remotely controlled.

Kitchen & Bath
The sleek kitchen is loaded with energy saving appliances. Some are buried beneath the counter top, only to appear at the push of a button. The LCD equipped remote allows you to research a recipe while keeping an eye on the children in the next room. A rolling stool allows you to maneuver effortlessly throughout the space. The bath features a heat-retaining tub (after six hours, water in the tub cools just 2-degrees), micro-mist sauna and shower, and oxygen foam bath for those in need of a moisturizer.

Office & Wellness Center
The office features a 70-inch screen for a web conferencing system so there’s never a need to commute into work. The network is protected by high-grade facial identification system which is activated by simply sitting in the chair. Access is denied to anyone not recognized by system. The wellness center is comprised of a massage chair and core-exercise machine which resembles a mini-mechanical bull (Of course I tried it, and lasted longer than 8 seconds).

Security & Design
Because the 800+ square-foot home was designed for people of varying ages and abilities, you’ll find wide hallways, handrails and minimal differences in floor levels. All furniture and fixtures have rounded edges and are set at the ideal height for users. The controls are easy-to-operate and some are voice-activated. The steel frame of the home is “earthquake proof.” The Intelligent Security system is equipped with an iris recognition system. The balcony is fitted with a sensor wired to the alarm.

Fuel Cell & Solar Power
The Eco & UD Concept home employs a fuel cell co-generation system as a prime energy source, supported by solar power generation. The fuel cell creates electricity by extracting hydrogen from the natural gas supply and mixing with oxygen in a “stack” of polyelectrolyte membranes. Energy usage is controlled and monitored via the home energy management system (HEMS). Panasonic estimates the fuel cell system and HEMS can reduce household energy consumption by a combined 30-percent. Vacuum insulation panels are used in the walls, bath tub and shutters. Panasonic says the insulation reduces the air conditioning workload by approximately 50-percent.

Impressed yet? The Concept home resides in Tokyo and is open to the public.

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