Net savvy washing machine from Ariston

Oh no, Web controlled washing machines let loose on Europe!

Italian firm Merloni has launched a washing machine that can be controlled over the Internet or a mobile phone.

The margherita2000.com, which has a built in modem, is the first in the company's upcoming line of Net savvy Ariston digital household appliances. It goes on sale in Italy Wednesday and will be available in the UK in the next few months.

Ariston digital products will communicate over the GSM network using WRAP (Web Ready Appliances Protocol), an open technology developed by Merloni. WRAP appliances are equipped with a regulating system based on microcontrollers and software based on fuzzy logic.

Each machine can be controlled via its own dedicated Web page or alternatively, using a mobile phone. It can directly download wash-cycle software programme upgrades and can communicate with the Ariston Digital Service Centre around the clock for ordering new parts and upgrades.

The machine is also able to receive email and short text messages, viewed on a fluorescent display at the front of the machine.