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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 May, 2005, 23:19 GMT 00:19 UK
Washing machine fingers lazy male
By Virginia Phillips
BBC radio science unit

Washing machine (DeBuenaTinta)
Time to give up those beers and do some house chores
A Spanish designer has come up with what could be the perfect solution for the woman who feels frustrated that she has to do all the house chores.

It is a washing machine called "Your Turn", which will not let the same person use it twice in a row.

It uses fingerprint recognition technology to ensure the job of loading is not dumped on just one individual.

Pep Torres was approached by a Spanish white goods manufacturer to come up with an innovative Father's Day gift.

I hope both women and men will think it's time for the men to do more around the house
Pep Torres
"I thought it would be good to finish with macho man from the ice age who doesn't do anything around the house except drink beers," said Torres, from DeBuenaTinta in Barcelona.

"Spain is changing a lot, and I wanted to come up with an invention to enable men to do more around the home."

Fast fingers

Some men may disagree that it is a good present for Father's Day and argue that it is more of a gift for the lady of the house.

"It was a tongue-in-cheek idea which seemed to catch the imagination," said Torres.

"It's an invention that has a philosophy behind it and I hope both women and men will think it's time for the men to do more around the house."

Your Turn requires both partners to register their fingerprints on the sensor while it is hooked up to their home computer.

When the sensor is then plugged into the washing machine, the software will only allow the wash programme to start if a different finger is placed on it each time.

So what about the cheats - how can you get round it?

Torres has an unusual solution: "I suggest the man can leave his finger at home... we have 10 fingers, so he won't miss one - well, you don't use the little finger a lot.

"Seriously though, the only way to override the system is to crawl around the back of the machine, unplug the sensor, take it back to the home computer and re-programme it - not that easy.

"We have to make it difficult to change otherwise it defeats the object of the exercise."

All thumbs

Your Turn is also childproof. Parents can be confident that young fingers will not be able to operate the washing machine as it is only their fingerprints that can start it.

But there is one bone of contention. The same person can still load the washing time after time. The finger print sensor only controls who starts the programme.

In future designs, Torres hopes to bring the door release mechanism under the thumb of the fingerprint sensor, too.

In the meantime, Your Turn is expected to go on sale in the next couple of weeks.

The one thing it will not do though is something that most guys are notoriously bad at - separating the whites from the coloureds.

You can hear an interview with Your Turn designer, Pep Torres, on the BBC World Service Everywoman programme on Tuesday 3 May. He also talks about another of his inventions which encourages men to do more ironing.

The broadcast will be archived on the programme website for a week.

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