Smarter Living in Disaster Zones



Smarter Living in Disaster Zones

The tragic earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March highlighted the importance of stable supplies of electricity in the aftermath of a natural disaster, encouraging Nissan to press ahead with a technology that enables its LEAF electric vehicles to act as emergency stores of energy for homes.

Today, at CEATEC, Japan’s annual exhibition of IT and electronics, the automaker is taking the concept of disaster-resilient housing a step further with perhaps the most technologically-advanced mobile home ever seen.

Using electric-car batteries, solar power and fuel cells, Nissan’s “Smart House of the Future,” or NSH-2012, is a home that could be deployed to stricken areas without power amid a crisis. Fully functional even when it’s impossible to connect to the power grid, electronic appliances inside “talk” to each other to ensure maximum energy efficiency, while stilt-like “legs” on wheels ensure portability.

“The reason it’s called NSH-2012 is because all the technologies used will be individually available no later than next year,” explains Nissan’s Toru Futami, expert leader of the company’s ITITS engineering department, and designer of the Smart House.

“It’s futuristic, but in reality it uses things that are not so far away.”

The concept on show at CEATEC features a 7-meter wide by 6-meter long polyhedral large room that’s raised 2.5 meters into the air, high enough to park a LEAF underneath. Reminiscent of the raised high-floor style typical of Japanese houses, its design maximizes space efficiency while taking into account the environmental challenges faced by many Asian countries, says Futami.

“Houses in Asia are often raised up because it’s so humid in many places,” he says. “The NSH-2012 lifts up to aid mobility and create space below, but also because many disasters in Asia are caused by water, such as the recent tsunami in Japan or flooding.”

Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s President Osamu Masuko participated in a live talk at Ceatec today, watch online here. (in Japanese with English feed).

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