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January 8, 2014

LG touts talking washing machines

Household appliances will respond to texts or voice with status messages.

By Ben Sullivan

LG has unveiled one of its more bizarre products at CES this year – a ‘talking’ washing machine.

Fridges that also tell owners how many beers are left and a voice-controlled oven were also discussed.

David VanderWaal, the firm’s head of appliance brand marketing in the US, presented the products at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"You no longer need to learn machine commands," he said. "Just speak naturally and your oven will understand you."

VanderWaal said that by texting "what are you up to?" to the washing machine, users can get a reply such as: "I’m just finishing the spin cycle, I won’t be long."

The idea is all part of LG’s HomeChat system that connects to LG smartphones, tablets and TVs, and is the latest among numerous offerings from tech firms at CES to get onboard with the Internet of Things.

Samsung also presented its vision of a connected home at CES. The company said that its Smart Home initiative could be used to turn off the lights when leaving a room by simply talking to your smartwatch, or allow users to monitor their properties when they are out of the home by streaming video from a camera built into their televisions units.

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"Open the washing machine doors, please, HAL…"

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