The open source washing machine project aims to rethink the way we wash clothes around the world, in accordance with economical, sociological, cultural and environemental aspects. Most of the people in this planet, mostly women, wash clothes by hand in harsh conditions related to poverty, lack of sanitation, water or energy. The biggest problem is the time consumed for this task: hours and hours per week, all their life. In rich countries, women started to emancipate themselves, started to be educated when washing machines arrived in the first half of the XXth century…the future is linked to washing technologies…
The project is born in spring 2008 during an Open Source Hardware workshop for artists in Craslab Paris : the Freeduino board is a low-cost Open Source Hardware environnement created to replace system managers for sensors, actuators or data acquisition in many devices. This electronic board is mostly used by artists, designers, architects…
We were talking about the features of the Freeduino ” for example, a 12 $ freeduino could replace the programmer in any washing machine, because it can manage the keyboard of the washing machine, it can manage the heat and pressure sensors of the machine, and it can manage all the hardware like heater, pumps or valves, and you could programm your washing cycles by yourself“.
The idea of a DIY electronic washing machine using recycling parts and Open source microcontroller was born, “let’s do it ! ” but immediatly, we knew that this was a western style project for rich countries only. Here in rich countries, we use industrialised washing machines, we have electricity, running water, sanitation and detergents. But for more than 2 billion people, no water, or few water, no running water, nor energy or possibility to buy and maintain a washing machine western style, even made with recycled parts.
We had to find something different.
We had to rethink the economical, sociological and technical concepts of washing clothes in a consciousness of sustainable developpement and respect of the natural and human environment.
We had to rethink the implication of technology in simple daylife, through the millenary painful activity of washing clothes.
How open source technologies can be related to both global and local contexts ? how the exchange of knowledge through open ressources and open source communities creates the organisation model of such projects ? how the model of self-organisation and technological autarchy will be crucial in the next years, when the effects of the petrol/climate crisis will affect deeply all civilisation ?
Download the presentations here :
Open Office format ( 5 Mo): http://www.craslab.org/persojn/bricolabs/OSwash.odp
PDF format, ( 5 Mo): http://www.craslab.org/persojn/bricolabs/OSwash.pdf