Toyota Dream House PAPI

TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura, in cooperation with Toyota Home K.K., has designed and developed a new intelligent home based on TRON and other leading edge technologies. Called "Toyota Dream House PAPI," this new intelligent home is designed to reflect the ubiquitous computing technologies that will be available for intelligent home construction in the year 2010.
In allowing Prof. Sakamura to design the new intelligent house, Toyota required him to learn about their modular home construction techniques (Toyota Home makes modules for constructing homes in factories that resemble automobile plants) and match his design to them. This is because the firm fully intends to market the technologies after they become commercially viable.

Toyota Dream House PAPI, which took five years to plan and complete, sits on a plot of land near the Toyota Museum in Aichi Prefecture that is 3,500 square meters in size. The total area of the house is 689 square meters. It is mainly made out of glass and aluminum, which are both recyclable materials. The large glass windows, incidentally, have a special coating that make them self cleaning when it rains, thus there is no need for anyone to clean the windows on a regular basis.

The main goals of this project were to design and realize an environmentally friendly, energy saving intelligent house design in which the latest ubiquitous network computing technologies created by the T-Engine project could be tested and further developed. This is important to keep in mind, because the natural tendency among some members of the press is to heap criticism on a house like this as too expensive, too impractical, or too intrusive to be sold in Japan. Not everything developed in Toyota Dream House PAPI is going to be incorporated into everyone's house in the future.

Toyota Dream House PAPI will be available for viewing by the public in groups with a maximum of eight persons from March 25 through September 25, 2005. Reservations can be made via the following URL.

Toyota Dream House PAPI was designed to interface with other Toyota technologies. One of the most important of those other technologies is Toyota Motor Corporation's Prius hybrid sedan, which can also be used to supply electricity to the intelligent house for 36 hours in an emergency, such as an earthquake that cuts off normal electrical supplies.
Conversely, the house can supply electricity to the battery packs of the vehicles via the stand in the middle of the garage. Some of that electrical energy can be obtained from solar cell panels that cover the roof, plus the sides of the structure. The house also uses solar heating and fuel cells, which makes it a kind of hybrid energy house.

One of the advantages of a home built in the countryside is that it can have larger rooms. This living room on the left has the floor area equivalent to small condominium in Tokyo that might be used to house a family of four. The fireplace also would cause problems with the neighbors, and probably local government authorities, in a crowded urban area, such as Tokyo or Osaka.
Large, uncluttered rooms with good internal and external lighting surrounded by or incorporating trees, plants, and other elements of nature are a standard feature of Prof. Sakamura's futuristic house designs. He believes that people should live and work in a pleasant environment, and having lots of room to move around in certainly allows one to feel pleasant.

The home theater with surround sound is nothing new, and it is coming into vogue thanks to high-definition digital video formats, high-capacity DVD players, and wide screen display technologies. In fact, a lot of electronics manufacturers see the home theater as the next big market once they can find the right price level to sell to the masses.
In Toyota Dream House PAPI, the already established concept of the home theater has been developed one step further. This home theater knows where the human occupants are and adjusts the lighting and sound to their locations and preferences. If any changes have to be made to any devices in the room, such as the air conditioning or the ventilation, the Ubiquitous Communicator can easily make them.

In terms of technology, Toyota Dream House PAPI is considerably different from the TRON Intelligent House constructed back in 1988. Back in 1988, wireless networking technology was unavailable, so massive amounts of wire harnessing had to be used between network nodes. In addition, there was also no technology along the lines of eTRON to secure communication between the nodes. And, of course, there was nothing equivalent to nanoT-Engine and picoT-Engine to make the construction of the nodes easy. Moreover, BTRON, which was intended to provide the standard HMI in TRON-based networks, only existed in the form of an educational computer operating system that was only available on an IBM-PC/AT-compatible desktop machine.
On the other hand, conceptually, there is very little difference between Toyota Dream House PAPI and the TRON Intelligent House of 1988. The former is a ubiquitous computing network, and so was the latter, although it wasn't called that at the time. The main difference between the two is in the degree of sophistication of their respective networks. As can be seen above, the Ubiquitous Communicator (UC) can be used as remote control throughout the home. As the user moves from one room to another, the functions of the communicator change, and it also identifies the person and his/her preferences as he/she moves through the computerized living space. However, the UC is just one of many HMIs the people in the house can use.
Video Presentation (5:27 minutes; in English)