Soap Suds and Surfing

Just over three months after it introduced an Internet-enabled refrigerator, South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc. has launched the second in what it hopes will eventually be a family of Internet-ready home appliances.

The newest member of the family, an Internet-ready washing machine, was unveiled by the company in Seoul in mid-October. Unlike current machines, which have a fixed number of wash programs, the new Internet LG Turbo Drum washing machine can connect to the Internet to download new programs to match new fabrics, the company explained.

LG built its own site to provide the programs, although, unlike the refrigerator, the washing machine can’t directly go on-line. With no built-in modem, the machine must be connected to a personal computer in order to hook up to the Internet and download new software. It has a built-in 4.2-inch liquid crystal display through which to navigate and find programs and a 4Mb flash memory to store the downloaded software.

If that isn’t clever enough, LG said it is currently developing a home network modem for the machine which will, when fitted, enable users to remotely monitor and program their machine from anywhere on the network.

LG said the machine is the result of a three-year development project that involved 30 engineers and cost 4 billion won (US$3.5 million). The next project likely to be released in the range is an Internet microwave oven that can go on-line and download recipes, LG said. The company expects it to be unveiled within the next year.

For more information, visit