A glimpse into what is coming for Denver’s future smart city, Pena Station Next

Source: The Denver Post on January 22, 2017 | Tamara Chuang

How Panasonic is adding the brains to the smart city it is building near DIA

There isn’t much else to see right now at Pena Station Next, the connected neighborhood where autonomous shuttles will one day transport residents to the nearby RTD rail stop, shops and restaurants.

But at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Panasonic, a partner in Denver’s smart city project, gave attendees a closer look at what may come. Some technologies are still in development but others, like the bus shelter, will be “much more robust,” said George Karayannis, vice president of CityNow, Panasonic’s smart-city arm.

Located south of Denver International Airport, the futuristic neighborhood began getting smart LED street lights last month. A parking area covered with solar panels plus a storage microgrid is almost done. And the building on the site, the Technology and Operations Center division of Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Co., is open for business.

Karayannis said the plan is to add a blanket of Wi-Fi coverage by spring, followed by smart parking and the smart bus stop in summer. The first EasyMile EZ10 autonomous shuttles are expected to arrive next month.

Panasonic chose Denver for its smart city in order to create a smart city laband test different technologies. Here are a few future technologies spotted at Panasonic’s CES booth that may show up in Pena Station Next.

Transparent TVs: Panasonic’s transparent video displays essentially turn a window or surface into a TV screen — and such examples flourished in the company’s booth at CES. Working models of the technology including the door of asake-wine cellar refrigerator, a table top, and windows. Windows frosted over on command to display a cooking lesson video. The table instantly projected an image of movement detected by a backyard security camera. But more on the table later.

And then there’s the sake fridge, itself a Japanese cultural item that keeps shelves at different temperatures. Tap the glass, and the temperature of each shelf is displayed. Also shown: the type and brand of sake, or recipes for dishes to pair with drinks.

Smarter kitchen:  While the smart kitchen isn’t smart enough to do all the cooking, it automates much of the process. When you select a recipe on the sake fridge door, other appliances are triggered to help prepare the meal — a cooking video is displayed and the oven preheats to the appropriate temperature. The kitchen counter is an induction stove top, so wherever a compatible frying pan or pot is set down, the range turns on. The range hood has built-in cameras and sensors that “see” the food cooking and adjust the temperature to avoid burning. It tracks cooking time and can keep a record of dietary habits. The kitchen can record the entire cooking process; creative cooks don’t have to take notes as they experiment, they can simply watch reruns of their experiments.

Multi-purpose table: The new Panasonic smart table has all sorts of built-in technology, including a transparent video display that can show family slide shows or images captured by a connected security camera. The table top has a monitor inside covered by a thin layer of fabric, yet the surface feels — and looks — like it is built of solid wood.

The table also has power tools, including a new “Flat-Top Cooker” that uses microwave technology. Like induction technology, the table will heat up wherever you place a compatible plate.

The table also has wireless induction charging so if you set a smartphone next to your plate, the device will charge while you eat. And because it’s a smart table, it syncs with nearby computers, phones or other connected devices and acts as a giant monitor to help you get work done.

Smart bus stop: Smart transit shelters should be constructed at Pena Station Next in the latter half of the year. A mock station in Panasonic’s CES booth showed off the sort of smartness we should see at the Pena shelters. It had two LCD displays. One showed familiar Denver travel options, from the next RTD bus being 7 minutes away to four B-Cycle bikes parked outside the Webb building. The screens support Panasonic’s LinkRay light communication technology, which beams data to a user’s smartphone over light. Data shated could include transit schedules or shopping deals. The bus stop relies on solar power.

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