WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
GE shows us that you can reinvent even the most mundane products and use technology to disrupt your industry.
Heating laundry inside a standard 220 volt clothes dryer is a huge energy drain and most households have one but, in an example of how companies can innovate even the most mundane of products, one scientist just found a brilliant way to reinvent the dryer, making it simultaneously faster and more energy efficient to do the laundry.
Ultrasonic humidifiers use high speed vibrations to turn water into steam, so Ayyoub Momen, a staff scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, turned that method on fabric. It’s one of those ideas you picture bursting into the brain of an engineer who sits upright in the middle of the night, scribbling on as fast as he can on a piece of paper.
The result is a battery operated, ultrasonic piezoelectric system that takes fabric from soaking wet to bone dry in a fraction of the time of a traditional heat pump dryer like the one you have at home while using a mere fraction of the energy.
Currently, the prototype is a silver dollar sized transducer connected to a battery that dries a wet piece of fabric in about 20 seconds and neither the fabric nor the transducer get hot, like with a regular dryer.
The bad news though is that you can’t buy one at the Home Depot – yet but the good news is that General Electric has committed to make the new dryer and they’re partnering with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to bring it to market in about four years from now.
Wave goodbye to laundry Sunday’s and say hello to free time.