#456: Colourwash

Who can be bothered sorting clothes before piling them into a washing machine? Actually I learned this lazy habit as a student, which accounts for the fact that everything I wore eventually took on a neutral khaki-grey hue (fine if you’re an Engineer, not so good at art school). Nowadays it’s just easier to wear navy blue exclusively.

For people who aren’t rod monochromats and who inexplicably like to wear delicate, coloured clothing, shouldn’t the washing machine be capable of working all this out for itself?


Today’s invention is a simple barcode reader attached to such a machine. Each item has its code scanned as it is passed through the door (it might require that anything you care about be equipped, post-purchase, with an iron-on patch, since RFID doesn’t seem as if it will be available any time soon).

The scanner allows the machine to issue a verbal warning before the item has entered the machine saying eg

“It seems that you are about to add a bright red woollen jersey to a whites load…but this is the fourteenth time this item has been washed, so it should be ok…proceed?”

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