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Last Updated: Monday, 6 October, 2003, 05:36 GMT 06:36 UK
Dyson invents 'talking' cleaner
James Dyson with one of his bagless vacuum cleaners
James Dyson created the bagless vacuum cleaner
The inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner is teaching household appliances to "talk".

Entrepreneur James Dyson, whose cyclone cleaner revolutionised the industry in the 1990s, is pioneering a model which can explain what is wrong when it breaks down.

Owners of the new cleaner, being developed at Dyson's headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, will be able to phone a help centre and hold a telephone near the appliance, allowing the machine to "warble" a coded message.

A worker on the other end of the line will be given all the information he needs to advise the customer what to do next.

Mr Dyson revealed his latest plans on the Discovery Channel programme New Scientist Reports.

Modernisation project

He said: "When something's broken the call centre always wants to know the serial number and model number - and you've never got it to hand so you have to ring back later.

"But with this technology, you will simply hold down the vacuum's 'on' button and put the telephone receiver next to a speaker."

Earlier this Dyson announced it was transferring the production of its washing machines from Malmesbury to Malaysia, prompting 65 job cuts.

Last year the company shed 800 jobs when it moved its vacuum cleaner factory to the Far East, although for 210 of the workers alternative roles were found at Dyson's headquarters.

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