Delicate clothing are the here-there-be-dragons of the laundry world. Unlike jeans and socks, one mistake can result in a favorite garment shrinking to doll size or ending up a gray, shredded mess. To help avoid this sort of wash day tragedy, Swiss engineering lab MPI Ultrasonics has come up with Dolfi, a pocket-sized device that makes laundering hand-washables a hands-free job.
At first glance, the Dolfi "pebble" may look like a cross between a Wi-Fi router and a bar of soap, but its actually a portable ultrasonic washing device for delicate items of clothing. Billed as the "world’s smallest and gentlest washing device", it's designed as a home and travel washer that uses 80 percent less energy than conventional machines and operates on a set-and-forget principle.
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According to the makers, Dolfi is very simple to use. Soiled delicates are put in a basin or other container of water, detergent is added, and the Dolfi is switched on and put in the water. Thirty minutes later, the clothes are rinsed, hung up to dry, and are then ready to wear with the bacteria, dirt, and odors removed and the fabric undamaged and retaining its normal color.
The device works by way of a small transducer inside the Dolfi's plastic shell. This generates modulated ultrasonic waves on a series of wavelengths that creates microscopic bubbles in the water by means of cavitation. As these collapse, they produce tiny shock waves that dislodge dirt from the clothes fibers. Or to put it briefly, Dolfi shakes the dirt out without harming the fabric.
Dolfi will be the focus of an Indiegogo campaign that launches on January 20 with a goal of US$100,000. The name of the product is a tribute to dolphins, which navigate by means of ultrasonics, and part of the campaign money goes to dolphin research and welfare. If the campaign is successful, premiums will include an early supporter price for the Dolfi of $89, an inflatable hanger, and a silicone basin stopper.
The video below introduces the Dolfi.