Dirty Laundry Talks Back
It doesn’t give dating tips or advice on the stock market, but a new washing machine talks and recognizes spoken commands about time, temperature, stains and garments. The machine introduces itself to users as "Hermine." It was developed by Speech Experts (Regensburg, Germany) based on a Siemens AG (Munich, Germany) washing machine.
When a user tells Hermine what clothes they need cleaned, the machine’s voice recognition system explains how they should be washed. Speech recognition software allows the machine to understand commands such as "prewash" or "wait 30 minutes before starting."
Speaking in a friendly woman’s voice, Hermine also gives advice on which washing detergent to use or how to remove tough stains. The Speech Experts team has tried to give the machine a personality. For instance, when told that a garment has been stained with red wine, Hermine responds by recommending beer in the future because those stains are easier to remove.
Hermine has a vocabulary of several hundred German words. Angelika Salmen, CEO of Speech Experts, claims that a future version of the machine will be able to understand up to 4,000 words in several different languages. She says a commercial version of Hermine would feature a built-in microphone and speakers.