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UK govt funds e-fridges and e-washing machines

E-Textiles Minister announces

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Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

The British Government is to spend £70 million investing in "electronic technologies", the Minister for Textiles and part-time E-Minister, Patricia Hewitt, said yesterday.

£20 million will be used to invest in pioneering work for "intelligent products" such as washing machines that read intelligent clothes label before selecting a washing programme and "Internet fridges" which order groceries direct from the supermarket.

It's expected that industry will match the Government's cash injection.

£30 million has been earmarked for investment over the next three years to transform business practices using technology above and beyond merely having a Web site or trading electronically.

And £20 million will be used to fund a collaboration between universities, business and government to develop a high-speed national grid of super-computing power that will give UK scientists, "access to ICT on a scale previously only available to the Pentagon".

Ms Hewitt said: "The Internet as we know it today is only the start of the revolution in information communications technology.

"The UK is already one of the world leaders in mobile Internet and digital TV. Now we are
investing an additional £70 million to ensure that UK business and scientists can be in the lead for the next generation of electronic networks," she said.

It's not known whether the Textiles Minister was personally responsible for suggesting Government money be used to develop "smart washing machines" that can communicate with "intelligent clothes". ®

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