Washing machines have always felt like a sort of necessary evil. I’m wouldn’t go so far as suggesting that no one enjoys washing clothes — heck, I find doing the dishes kind of cathartic. People are weird. But most washers feel like big, dumb machines. Machines that break down, lose our unmentionables and often ruin the clothes they should be cleaning.
It doesn’t seem like too much to ask, in this age of smart everythings, that our washing machines know more about washing our clothes than us dumb humans. A prototype showed off by Hoover Europe (a spunoff entity now under the umbrella of the Italian company, Candy) at IFA this week offers some potentially compelling steps toward a day when our washing machines will work with us more than they do against us.
The machine features smart cycles that adjust to its owners habits and work to operate during less power consumptive times of day. More compelling is the integration of TED — that’s textile expert detector, not the thing where people stand on stage with headsets and talk about stuff.
For now, the device is a standalone scanner that is able to determine the makeup of a clothing product when placed atop it. That information can then be sent to the machine to best decide which cycle to put the garment through.
The plans, which could see the product coming to market as early as next year here in Europe, don’t actually integrate the technology directly into the washing machine. Rather, it would exist as a standalone device to pre-scan clothing or, perhaps, be attached to the side of the machine, so users can just hold clothes up to the side before tossing them in.