Behold: The future of laundry

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Giles Turnbull can’t talk right now, he’s just texting his washing machine…

What if your washing machine was connected to the internet?

That’s the question the team London technology company Berg Cloud asked themselves not long ago.

The answer is a prototype called Cloudwash (bergcloud.com/case-studies/cloudwash). It’s a working washing machine that talks to the internet, and from there to you, wherever you happen to be.

You can talk to your washing machine from your phone. It can send you an alert when your wash is done – or you can load it up before you leave for work, then start the wash cycle by remote control from the office during the afternoon, so that everything’s fresh for when you return.

There are buttons on the front of the machine that automatically order replacement detergent and fabric conditioner from Amazon.

What’s most interesting about Berg’s experiment is that they used a normal washing machine, and adapted it to talk to the network using extra hardware they designed. Those extra widgets and microchips turn a dumb object into a smart object.

Those widgets are what Berg’s business is all about. It doesn’t want to make washing machines; it wants to make washing machines smarter.

The five-minute film explaining Cloudwash feels very natural, and doesn’t make the technology seem too weird.

So while it might seem a bit over-indulgent to want an internet-connected washing machine today, this is probably where household goods are going tomorrow (ish). Give it another five or ten years, and everyone will be wondering how on earth they managed without smart washing machines, boilers, and cookers.

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