4 Futuristic Cleaning Innovations Underway We'd Happily Take Now
Good news, fellow cleaners: As the United States recovers from that dreadful Recession, the cleaning industry is expected to grow, according to Franchise Help analyst Andrew Weber. People will have more cash to spend on tidying up, and offices will need to clean up after larger workforces.
Innovators excited about this growth are building technology to revolutionize the way we do our cleaning and, in some cases, handing off the scrubbing to our gadgets. Here are some developments underway that could come soon to a supply closet near you.
1. The 10-minute Washer/Dryer
Recall what you wore yesterday. In that outfit, did you climb the highest mountain, wrestle a Yeti and celebrate your victory with a platter of the sloppiest barbecue ribs? Probably not. It goes to show that yesterday's clothes rarely need a full-out drenching in gallons of soapy water--they just need light freshening.
That's why Procter & Gamble and Whirlpool teamed up to develop the $500 Swash, a 10-minute machine aimed at postponing laundry day. Swash's website says 80% of clothing tossed into a washing machine has no visible stains. If your shirt falls under that 80%, Swash will lift its wrinkles and leave a fresh scent before you finish your morning Froot Loops.
A 12-pack of the Tide pods used to clean the clothing costs $6.99, so the Swash isn't recommended for the broke college student who searches his couch cushions for quarters to use at the laundromat. But hey, if you're adventurous, then set sail to your nearest appliance dealer and dig up the dry cleaning treasure buried within, fellow Swashbuckler. Arrrr.
2. The Smarter Robotic Vacuum
Optometrists, be jealous. Dyson's first automated vacuum, hitting Japanese stores this year, is one crazy animal thanks to its 360° eyeball that views the entire room simultaneously. According to the Dyson 360 Eye website, the living room rover knows where it's gotta go because it explores your terrain using "complex mathematics, probability theory, geometry and trigonometry." If only this bot genius were around to do our high school algebra homework.
The free Dyson Link mobile app for IOS and Android will allow you to schedule a thorough vacuuming away from home. If you're at work and need to make sure your rug rover didn't get trapped behind the couch, you can view maps of its cleaning progress through the app.
USA Today says the 360 Eye's battery lasts just 20 minutes or so, but when it needs an electrical boost, the bot navigates itself to the charging dock for some refueling without your help. Somebody tame this beast.
3. The Lawnmower That Goes Beyond Mowing
Technology isn't always about bells and whistles; sometimes it's about simplification. The Packer-Combo mower doesn't utilize Internet capabilities or groundbreaking scientific developments, but it's a model awaiting trademark that surprisingly doesn't already occupy backyard sheds worldwide.
The Packer-Combo, developed by two Pennsylvania men in their 70s, combines a mower, weed whacker and edger to take time out of routine yard-cleaning. Co-inventor Dennis Gesker told Philly.com there was plenty of arguing with co-inventor Bruce Packer, but in the end they agreed on a design that they hope will be locally mass-produced in their city of Philadelphia one day.
The men call the Packer-Combo a "lawnmower on steroids." Make of that what you will.
4. The Vehicle That Defies Carwashes
Automatic car wash services have simplified automobile cleaning to the point that our job is to jam a bill into the dollar slot and sit back in the driver's seat. Now Nissan believes even that is too much work. The nano-paint that lines the Nissan Leaf model repels the precipitation and oils that splash upon your vehicle during a messy drive.
There aren't any plans to apply the coating to other cars in the near future, but Nissan will continue experimenting with the paint. But just think: Someday when your inner 16-year-old needs to unwind after a fatiguing day at work, you could go do some therapeutic burn-outs in the mud--and your car would bathe itself on the ride home. Convenience at its absolute best.