Most of us don’t think about the cultural context of our washing machines–we just toss in clothes, turn on the device, and don’t ponder it further. But the reality is that the majority of people on the planet wash clothes by hand, mostly because of poverty and lack of available resources. Enter the Open Source Washing Machine Project, which rethinks the way we wash clothes based on economical, sociological, cultural and environmental conditions.
From the project Web site:
Here in rich countries, we use industrialised washing machines, we have electricity, running water, sanitation and detergents. But for more than 2 billion people, no water, or few water, no running water, nor energy or possibility to buy and maintain a washing machine western style, even made with recycled parts. We had to find something different.
The project, which spawned from open source hardware workshop for artists in Craslab Paris, aims to use local and recycled materials along with multiple forms of renewable energy to adapt washing machines for various impoverished nations. Among the ideas being tossed around: vibrating and sonic systems, UV light systems, bacterial systems that eat dirt, and DIY detergents.