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Toshiba Introduces Voice-Controlled AND Energy-Efficient Air Conditioner
Toshiba Home Appliance of the Toshiba Group has introduced the world’s first voice controlled air conditioner – the Daiseikai VOiCE NDR Series. There are 13 models with a variety of functions and colors. As with most Japanese A/C units, it is meant to be mounted on the wall and controlled via remote control. Having lost my remote control countless times, the voice activation feature seems pretty handy. From Toshiba’s point of view, they developed the voice command system to introduce simplicity and an intuitive user interface to a multifunctional and potentially confusing home appliance.


The VOiCE NDR uses a new dual compressor unique to Toshiba which allegedly increases efficiency so much that the A/C uses only as much energy as an electric fan – on the lowest setting. A number of technical changes in the internal construction (mostly having to do with the dehumidifying aspect of air conditioning and the plumbing therein) also help to maintain functionality and reduce the amount of energy used to 45W (again, this is the lowest setting). Toshiba estimates the cost as approximately one yen per hour (about 1.3 cents American), which adds up to just under $10/month.

The voice control function is performed by – what else? – the Voice Controller, which can recognize 21 different words and phrases, such as stop (chuushi), start (unten), hot (atsui), cold (samui), and power saving (setsuden). Another memorized phrase, “cool breeze” (suzukaze), dials the machine down to a lower setting to conserve energy.


A final note on the VOiCE NDR’s energy efficiency: the voice command “power saving” has settings for both the heating and cooling functions. If the A/C feature of the unit is active, it automatically sets the temperature to 32°C (90°F), and if the heating function is active, it sets room temperature to 17°C (63°F).


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