The Laundry Pod: A step back in innovation or progress?

I always find it interesting how ideas for new consumer products evolve and then come to market. It’s especially intriguing how technology can sometimes spark innovations that appear to be in direct response to existing technology within the same product category. This manual clothing washer, known as the Laundry Pod, is a prime example.

Clearly, people washed clothing before there were washing machines. Remember the washboard?

Washing machines were then created to make life “easier” and save us time. New innovations sometimes come with some sort of cost. In this case, that cost is electricity. These days, that cost is more than some people feel they can afford, or that they wish to pay — and that cost is not always monetary. Modern washing machines use large amounts of water and electricity, which is both expensive and not ideal for the environment. So, people choose to seek out alternatives with the goal of preserving the earth and going green. While others make this same choice in the hopes of conserving electricity as well as replenish their emptying wallets.

Whatever the case, the Laundry Pod seemingly takes us backwards in terms of “progress” in technology. It does not use any electricity, and actually requires manual labor to function. So, it’s effectively a scaled up version of the washboard.

The Laundry Pod uses significantly less water and detergent, and takes less time to wash your clothing than a typical electric washing machine. It is portable, and relatively inexpensive to purchase. Although the Laundry Pod does not use electricity, which might be a negative attribute for some people, the environmental factors are a very good thing. In the past, I had always thought of progress as something that involves technology – and likely also electricity by default. But I have come to realize innovation has more to do with solving a problem in a new way. And maybe that way isn’t high tech, or easier simply because it requires less or no human interactivity.

Though the Laundry Pod seems to be taking us to a place we thought we had already been (i.e., the washboard), this is really innovation at its best. It’s the kind that makes you look at the world differently, and see it with a more discerning and aware eye. Do you consider this progress??

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