Week in review: Goin’ mobile

All the participants at CeBit are looking to clean up, and a talking washing machine on display could pave the way to home electrical devices that respond to voice commands–and can even help inexperienced users to operate them. Called Hermine, the device is being developed in partnership with Siemens, but Speech Experts, a German company, believes that a commercial model could be in stores as early as 2004–if its prototype proves popular enough.

Hermine and the company’s wide array of program types are designed to help people who are foxed by the complexity of modern washing machines. Speech Experts demonstrated on Wednesday that when consumers told Hermine what clothes they needed to clean, it could tell how they should be washed.