TOKYO -- Panasonic has begun employing a supercomputer in the development of kitchen appliances, slashing costs by eliminating the need for many physical prototypes.
This effort involves the Focus supercomputer of the Foundation for Computational Science in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture. The machine can simulate the inside of an oven, for example, accounting for contents, cooking time and other factors. The data collected can then be used to program optimal heating patterns for baking bread as part of the product's functions.
Blazing through its calculations 25 times as fast as a personal computer, the supercomputer helps shorten development times.
It can also simulate damage from dropping the product, rendering unnecessary many of the nearly 100 prototypes typically used for such testing.
A product's development costs could go down 90% from the usual tens of millions of yen, according to Panasonic. The company boasts that it is the first in Japan to so use a supercomputer in developing kitchen appliances.
Panasonic aims to bring products to market soon but has not indicated a specific time frame.