Jop Esmeijer is an innovator and researcher at the strategy department of TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research. His main research area is the societal impact of ICT,...
Kyle Vanhemert: This Brilliant Washing Machine Is a Roadmap for the Internet of Things
Source: „There couldn’t be a more perfect example of our absurd obsession with the internet of things than the connected washing machine. Nothing so concisely symbolizes just how ludicrous our mania for connectivity has become as a smartphone app that helps you wash your socks.
Berg, a design and technology development startup in London, shares this wariness of a mindlessly connected future, and much of its work centers on envisioning a smarter way forward. That said, the studio’s latest project might be even crazier than an internet-connected washing machine. It’s an internet-connected washing machine that makes perfect sense.
It reminds us that connectivity doesn’t always need to introduce complexity.
The prototype, Cloudwash, shows how technology can be harnessed to make simple, sensible improvements to unglamorous appliances. It features a streamlined user interface; wash options are reduced to just a few frequently-used presets, with plain language labels like “sports clothes” or “everyday wash.” A second knob lets you schedule loads not by starting time but, ingeniously, ending time. Other features let you order detergent from Amazon with the press of a button. The machine communicates seamlessly with a smartphone app, though it doesn’t make you use it if you don’t want to.
It’s not a reinvention of the washing machine so much as a refinement. Best of all, at no point in the wash cycle does it urge you to post your activity to social media.”