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Digested From “This Brilliant Washing Machine Is a Roadmap for the Internet of Things”
Wired (04/07/14) Vanhemert, Kyle
Berg, a design and technology development startup based in London, has developed an Internet-connected washing machine. Dubbed Cloudwash, the prototype features a streamlined user interface. Wash options are reduced to just a few frequently used presets, with such plain language labels as "sports clothes" or "everyday wash." A second knob allows the user to schedule loads not by starting time, but ending time. Other features enable the user to order detergent from Amazon with the press of a button. Furthermore, the machine communicates seamlessly with a smartphone app. Berg officials say it is not so much a reinvention of the washing machine, as it is a refinement. "Best of all," the article's author writes, "at no point in the wash cycle does it urge you to post your activity to social media."
The Berg team's approach reminds us that connectivity doesn’t always need to introduce complexity. One of Cloudwash's best features is something simple: the ability to tell the time. Jack Shuzle, a principal at Berg who led the Cloudwash project, states that a little bit of temporal awareness goes a long way with washing machines. He states, "That's the defining thing about them: they exist in time very, very conspicuously. When is it spinning? When will it finish? When can I put my stuff in?” By knowing the time, Cloudwash can inform the user when a load will be complete, eliminating the guesswork typically involved in transferring things to the dryer. Perhaps Schulze's favorite feature is a unique button that, when pressed, kills notifications completely for that session. It's one of Cloudwash’s smartest touches -- a button that temporarily turns it back into a dumb washing machine.
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