With our four kids and many pets, our washer and dryer get a non-stop workout. We are in the process of having the kids operate the machines to do their share of the work, a fun process, not really. If there were any common household interface that needs a severe makeover it's the washer/dryer. Geeze
Aside from knowing “how” to do laundry based on the variety of clothes, colors, materials, the amount a person needs to translate this into to the multitude of buttons/dials/sliders to get their desired result is scary. People likewise need to comprehend the feedback they get while pressing buttons and dials with the few digits, lights and beeps to see if they are getting it right. More expensive advanced models up to the ante by adding LCD touch screen and show some cool graphics during the poor human’s exerience.
The LCD is an extension of the same set of buttons/dials and sliders. It’s arcane. Not cool.
Manufacturers need to get rid of ALL dials/buttons/screens etc… and replace with a microphone for voice input, speaker for feedback and instructions and perhaps an easy to view time-left digits display. The design & development effort spent with existing button/dial/LCD interfaces, especially the LCD, could be placed in the NLP for the device.
In addition to the replacement of the controlling mechanism of the washer/dryer should be an NLP interface on how to wash clothes based on a set of questions. Nobody wants or knows how to wash clothes. If they could have someone was for free, they would. People would prefer even not to know how to wash clothes. They just want it done. Self-washing clothes for everyone!!
My kids would love to walk up and say “I have t-shirts and jeans to wash”, the washer says, “Place the jeans in first”, “add laundry detergent…” Etc… It can ask/tell the type of detergent when to add softener etc…
The washer/dryer is such a beautiful domain begging for an NLP interface. The cost for the washer would be reduced as you don’t need the dials/knobs/buttons/LCD etc.. and microcontroller to support, part sourcing and develop all that. You need a speaker/microphone/wifi module, a simple microcontroller, and the LED time-left readout. You could also have an app that was a mirror of the voice interface so you could ask with the voice from another room or out and about, “Is the washer done?” etc…
Please, dudes, be the first NLP it up!