Voice Command Appliances for Whirlpool

Conceptual exploration

The client asked IDEO to develop five working concept prototypes demonstrating a range of possible user features and benefits for a series of voice-activated appliances. The company also wanted to create a common visual language for this premium product line, which is intended for use by early adopters of new technology in the home. Each appliance has a range of voice control options in addition to conventional pushbutton operation.

Speaker-dependent recognition technology requires the user to say a series of display prompts in order to establish a template for a single command. This “training” procedure is performed for each appliance. Once the system has been trained, the user dictates commands into a microphone. A column of light around the microphone indicates that the appliance is “listening” to the user.

Project date: 1996