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Image gallery: Japan zooms in on the smart home

Posted: 25 Nov 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart home? embedded technologies? wireless gateway?

NXP smart lighting
NXP is betting big on smart lighting.

The goal of smart lighting is to allow lights to be activated remotely and automatically via wireless controllers.

NXP said its light module includes chip sets that offer highly efficient and dimmable drivers for smart lamps.

Features included in the GreenChip module are an ultra-low power standby supply controller with 10 mW no-load capability; an IEEE802.15.4 standard-compatible integrated RF transceiver and wireless microcontroller with a Tx/Rx current below 17 mA; and low-power, IP-based wireless connectivity enabled by the open source JenNet-IP networking software.

GreenChip module

NXP's module fits right into the light bulb socket.

Embedding visual smarts in a car
Toshiba has developed hardware-based IP called "FocusNavi IP." Designed to embed more smarts into cars, Toshiba leverages its proprietary motion detecting algorithm. The hardware IP can determine, for example, whether moving objects are human beings, by applying the "Support Vector Machine" to the database. A tiny camera is installed in the first car of the miniature train in the photo below.

FocusNavi IP

A tiny camera is installed in the first car of the miniature train. While the train is running, the camera accurately discriminates between humans and other objects.

Hardware IP

The monitor in this photo shows what the camera on the train is actually "seeing."

The hardware IP can be dropped into any ASIC, FPGA or SoC to enable the feature. It then detects only the objects the system needs to detect, according to Toshiba. Beyond surveillance cameras, Toshiba's FocusNavi IP's most obvious applications are in cameras used in vehicles.

Feeding robot

Core Group's feeding robot.

Smart robot feeds you food
One can't walk around any Japanese electronics shows without bumping into warm and fuzzy robots. Here's one. Although still a prototype (and nowhere near cuddly yet), this robot, equipped with eyes of Microsoft Kinect Xbox, is designed to help feed a handicapped person. It can feed "miso" soup without forcing a person to move his head or feed a spoonful of cooked rice or tofu right into one's mouth without mashing or dropping it. The system was developed by Core Group, which is based in Kyushu, Japan.

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