GE reinvents the dryer to disrupt the laundry industry



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.


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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.


Video: A demonstration of the new technology

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.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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