Hello all! My top engineering technology picks of the week include a self-folding laundry machine, a transparent office building and an innovative new cabin design for business passengers on United Airlines. Have a great weekend!
- Foldimate is the laundry robot that will save you from tedious folding
- World’s first passenger drone cleared for testing in Nevada
- Philips’ new location-aware Sonicare Connected toothbrush knows which teeth you’re brushing
- MVRDV Transforms a Former Hong Kong Factory into a Transparent Building
- Beyond first class: United adding fold-out beds and other luxuries to select flights
Doing the laundry can be boring. Folding it may be even worse. But if you don’t like folding (and ironing) your clothes, may be a thing of the past! Foldimate is an automated system that takes freshly dried clothes, steams out the wrinkles, folds them crisply and piles them in a neat stack. And it requires almost no effort – just hang and hit the start button. And you don’t even have to hang around to wait for the clothes as it has built-in WiFi to keep you alerted on the progress. Yes, it is a little pricey (minimum $700) and has a pre-order list of nearly 90,000 already, but you may never have to worry about wrinkles or the hassle of folding your clothes. I’m just interested to see if there is an option for folding fitted bed sheets!
A new form of public transportation is getting closer to actuality. The Ehang 184 drone will start being tested and regulatory approval in Nevada. The team involved hopes to pass FAA tests to begin transporting passengers autonomously. This would open an entirely new industry of autonomous aerial transportation. The company behind the drone, Ehang, is targeting a system that requires a passenger to simply enter the destination and the drone takes care of a vertical lift-off and flies at 11,000 feet at 63 mph for up to 23 minutes.
The next breakthrough in toothbrushes has arrived! If you were waiting to ditch you “smart brush” that tracks the length of time that you brush or the pressure applied while you brush. Phillips has created a brush that will map your mouth – think Google Maps street view for your mouth. This brush will come with an app that has Bluetooth, accelerometer and gyros plus pressure sensors to determine the direction and angle of the brush. While it is collecting this information, the brush will map it against a 3D tooth map for real-time feedback.
MVRDV Transforms a Former Hong Kong Factory into a Transparent Building
MVRDV has made a name turning derelict structures into astounding new spaces for many different purposes, such as affordable housing units and an elevated park. The newest project turned an old concrete-built factory in China into transparent office building (with shops and restaurants). Glass was used for everything from the floor and stairwell to the chairs and desks. The company literally took the “transparent work environment” and incorporated that into the design of the office space. With the vast amounts of glass used in the design, the building is expected to use 17 percent less energy annually than the average office in Hong Kong.
As many airlines build planes to fit more people to help reduce costs, United is testing a new concept for business class passengers. The United Polaris premium lounge will give passengers a serene environment that will leave passengers feeling well rested. This new design provides a beginning-to-end experience, improving the lounge area for passengers before boarding and also translates into the cabin design. The “herring-line” configuration mixes in-line seats with angled seats to efficiently use the space, while giving all passengers access to the isle. The most interesting feature is that the seats fold into a full-size bed with a do not disturb light. United will start incorporating the design into its international flights later this year.