Toshiba Introduces Voice-controlled Air Conditioners

Sep 14, 2011
Ikutaro Kojima, Tech-On!

Toshiba Home Appliances Corp announced the "Daiseikai VoiCE NDR" series of home air conditioners, which can be operated by voice.

There are 13 models in the series, and the company will start to release them in early November 2011 as models designed for 2012.

When a voice command is issued to the voice controller of the NDR series, the controller recognizes it and sends an order to the indoor unit via infrared communication. Twenty-one items (26 words) such as "heating," "timer" and "stop" are preregistered in the recognition circuit of the voice controller, and the air conditioner conducts operations that correspond to those items.

For example, it is possible to save energy consumed by the air conditioner by saying, "Power saving." When a voice command is recognized, a melody is played and the command is repeated by a synthesized voice. This function is useful when both hands are occupied and the remote control cannot be operated and when it is difficult to find the remote in darkness at night, Toshiba Home Appliances said.

Moreover, the voice controller can be used not only for operating the air conditioner but for turning on and off Toshiba's LED lighting apparatuses equipped with a wireless remote function and its TVs.

The voice controller has a simple design with only a start button and a notification lamp. It contains a voice recognition circuit, microphone and speaker.

The voice recognition circuit can be activated by pressing the start button, clapping hands, etc. And the air conditioner starts operations when a registered word is mouthed.

Toshiba Home Appliances reduced the power consumption of dry batteries by newly developing the low power consumption "CL3 Wake-up Circuit," which activates the recognition circuit only when it is necessary, and using it for the air conditioner.

A new-type dual compressor was mounted at the heart of the air conditioner. Toshiba Home Appliances reduced (1) leakage loss and sliding loss by flattening a cylinder, (2) suction loss by using only one suction opening and (3) another kind of loss by shortening a suction pipe. As a result, the efficiency of the compressor was improved.

By using this compressor, Toshiba Home Appliances realized the "Ryofu Operation," which is a cooling operation with the industry's smallest power consumption (45W), and the "Dash Heating," which takes the industry's shortest time (about one minute) to generate warm air, the company said.