While it’s probably not a question you’ve ever asked yourself, you’d be surprised at some of the clever designs emerging across the globe to improve the humble washing machine. Whether you’re interested in more efficient washing, added functionality, or cutting costs – see how some particularly clever designers are adding value to your weekly laundry loads.
Less water, more steam
Winning the prestigious Red Dot design award in 2013 was the Innova Steam Washing Machine. That’s right, why use lots of water per load when you can steam clean instead? This washer dryer combo turned heads at the 2013 convention for its striking smooth steel looks, minimalist design, and conservative usage of water.
Innova promise it will consume ‘much less water than today’s washers’, and that the use of steam will both sterilise clothes and make them easier to iron. While it remains a concept design rather than a ready-to-ship product, it is nonetheless cause for excitement.
The GiraDora: a first rate washer / spin dryer product for third world nations
We can sometimes take our electronics and appliances for granted, and fail to remember those across the globe who might not be so lucky. A group of Americans students from a Californian college of design aimed to bridge this divide with a product that would make washing clothes quicker and cheaper for those in third world countries.
After studying the laundry habits of individuals in Peru and concluding their time was being overspent on such a simple task as laundry, a team led by Alex Cabunoc developed a washing machine that doesn’t require electricity to run: it’s 100% human-powered.
The GiraDora is about the size of a small keg, has a cushion so users can sit on top of it*, a drum for the clothes to be spun and agitated inside, and a pedal in which to spin this drum. It uses the basic physics of any modern top loading washing machine, but with the added benefits of portability, unprecedented water efficiency, and ease of use.
Also a recipient of a Red Dot award (theirs in 2012), as well as a host of other awards, the GiraDora stands as a shining example that innovation shouldn’t just benefit the lucky – but also those in need.
* Rather than crouching down in front of a bucket, as they did before to hand wash clothes.
It’s alive! Text your washing machine
Do you like the idea of leaving the office, texting a few choice words to your air conditioner to make sure it’s running when you arrive home? Or perhaps you can load dirty clothes into your washing machine in the morning, but not start it until half an hour before you arrive home – at which point, they’ll be ready to be hung up or thrown into the dryer.
Such technology isn’t ripped from the pages of an Asimov novel, but rather the (relatively) cutting edge designs from LG, who unveiled this technology at CES 2014.
While the idea of asking your washing machine questions may seem a bit silly (you could always just walk down to the laundry and check…right?), the time management applications make it one to watch in the future. If you’d like to learn more, The Verge wrote a great piece on the use of LG’s HomeChat technology.