How many times have you thrown your clothes in the washing machine, only to find that one red shirt accidentally got in the mix of your pristine, white underwear and turned everything pink? How many of you don’t even own washing machines and have to trek outside to spend several hours at the laundromat every week only to have the dryers steal your socks? Do you despise the chore of washing clothes in the first place? If you nodded your head in agreement to any of the aforementioned situations, you must be as thrilled as we are about this concept portable washing machine that uses dry ice to clean clothes in only a few minutes.
Meet the Orbit, created by industrial designer Elie Ahovi to help revolutionize the tedious task and make washing machines greener for the environment. The Orbit cuts down on water usage by allowing dry ice to evaporate into gas and perform a pressurized blast to lift the dirt off your clothes. The chemical reaction between carbon dioxide in dry ice and grease in your clothes breaks down the particles of dirt, spinning them into oblivion. After the dry ice has scrubbed your laundry clean in a matter of minutes, the gas is sucked back up and returns to a solid state for future washes. The grime removed from your clothes is filtered through a tube which you will have to manually clean and maintain.
The Orbit is also powered by a battery-filled ring containing a metal laundry basket at the center of the the spherical machine. The batteries inside the ring create a magnetic field which also levitates the basket as the machine’s electrical resistivity drops. Now, instead of watching laundry spin inside traditional washing machines, the Orbit would also make our clothes float.
While the idea is amazing, is it too wild to become reality? With dry ice blasting an established method of cleaning, albeit for industrial machines, applying the process to clothes may very well be possible if the carbon dioxide gas does not ruin the variety of sensitive fabrics. The Orbit also addresses the water crisis issue, but does not seem to clarify how much energy it will take to keep this battery-powered machine running especially if it’s going to get cold enough to turn gas back into dry ice numerous amounts of time. And even though the levitation thing is cool, will the magnetic field be strong enough to keep the metal basket floating inside the ring? What if kids or pets knock the machine over — will that throw the Orbit completely out of whack?
We know this is just a concept, meaning it will either be out in the next decades after further development, or never at all. But seeing a practical future sketched before our eyes gives a little hope that one day, life will get to that level of convenience and innovation.