Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Washing Machines Can Be More User-friendly

Date:
November 29, 2006
Source:
Delft University Of Technology
Summary:
The design of a washing machine looks more or less the same as it did 50 years ago: a white box with an opening in the middle some 60 cm from the floor. This is ergonomically impractical however and means that elderly people are no longer able to do their laundry at home. According to researcher Nicole Busch, this problem can be alleviated with a few simple adaptations.

Basic washing machine rendering concept with an opening at 103 cm and a 30 degree angle.
Credit: Image courtesy of Delft University Of Technology

The design of a washing machine looks more or less the same as it did 50 years ago: a white box with an opening in the middle some 60 cm from the floor. This is ergonomically impractical however and means that elderly people are no longer able to do their laundry at home. According to researcher Nicole Busch, this problem can be alleviated with a few simple adaptations. An important, unexpected result of her graduation research was the fact that one standard height for the opening was comfortable for both tall and short people alike. Usually, a degree of adjustability is required, as with bicycle seats or office chairs. Busch received her TU Delft PhD degree based on this research subject on November 22.

The design of a washing machine looks the same as it did 50 years ago: a white box with an opening in the middle some 60 cm from the floor. Loading and unloading the washing machine requires one to bend over. This is uncomfortable and results in great stress being placed on the backs of elderly people, people with back problems, and people who must do laundry often, such as those who have large families or those whose work involves laundry servicing.

Improving the design of washing machines has nevertheless been neglected. Very little scientific research has been conducted in this area, researcher Nicole Busch discovered. In a research laboratory experiment, Busch studied the loading and unloading of a washing machine. For her experiments, Busch used a washing machine 'mock up', whose height and angles could be adjusted. Then, in a 'real life' test, her laboratory research findings were verified by people doing the laundry at home. The test subjects were asked to load and unload the elevated washing machine. From this, Busch determined the specifications required for an ergonomically improved washing machine.

According to Busch, the most important design specifications for a washing machine to adhere to are as follows:

  • The middle of the opening for loading and unloading should be 100 to 105 cm from the floor.
  • The axis of the drum should be angled at 30 degrees from the horizon, which makes loading the washing machine easier.
  • There needs to be a stand for placing the laundry basket on, so that laundry is located close to the opening.

Busch believes that a washing machine based on this new ergonomic concept and combined with an innovative design can be a great commercial success. Washing machines of elevated heights and with rotating drums have recently emerged on the market. This proves that the design is achievable. All three design specifications however have not yet been combined in one product. This then represents a commercial opportunity for washing machine manufacturers, Busch believes.

During her PhD research, Busch also researched how the laundry is done around the world. This was necessary in order to determine in which regions of the world an improved washing machine would be suitable for the laundry-washing process. No global laundry-washing culture exists. Local needs and uses differ, and this is true even for countries that border each other. In most countries, an improved washing machine would fit in well with the way the laundry is done. However, sometimes various factors must be considered, like color (rose for parts of China) and dimensions (the washing machine must fit on balconies and in small flats, and be able to be moved). Globally, there are 500 million washing machines in use.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Delft University Of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Delft University Of Technology. "Washing Machines Can Be More User-friendly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061129090153.htm>.
Delft University Of Technology. (2006, November 29). Washing Machines Can Be More User-friendly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061129090153.htm
Delft University Of Technology. "Washing Machines Can Be More User-friendly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061129090153.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins