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UK Govt backs talking fridges

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The UK Government is pledging £20 million to help develop intelligent fridges and conscientious boilers.

In total, £40 million has been set aside to fund the virtual Interdisciplinary Research Centre (vIRC) - a coalition of technology businesses and universities including BT, Dyson, IBM UK, Microsoft and the University of Cambridge - which, we're, told will be only too happy to come together and share their research.

Among the projects set to receive special attention is how domestic appliances such as fridges, boilers and washing machines can "speak" to a service centre when parts need replacing.

Other areas include intelligent wired security systems and eco-friendly "thinking" houses.

Oh, and let's not forget TV screens bolted on to just about any domestic appliance you can think of - such as a TV on your wristwatch, Net access on the microwave, or DVD players attached to fridges.

Eminister Douglas Alexander said the vIRC would allow the UK to "maintain its strong lead in high-tech industries" and "bring us closer to mass-market products and services with the potential to improve home security, cut energy consumption and improve quality of life".

Heaven help us. ®

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