Produced by Core77 in association with the Consumer Electronics Association and Inhabitat, the Greener Gadgets Design Competition 2009 challenged designers to create the next generation of greener gadgets. Core77 described the competition as "an amazing chance to use design to contribute positively."
According to Inhabitat founder Jill Fehrenbacher, presenter Saul Griffith suggested designers "focus our efforts on creating BETTER, longer-lasting products that people will form emotional attachments to and will want to keep for years." This emotional connection is what the RKS philosophy is all about. "This connection not only encourages people to keep products longer, making them more sustainable, it also emotionally connects consumers to brands, driving demand in away that makes businesses sustainably profitable," said Tom White, RKS Executive Vice President. "Truly sustainable design is good for the planet and good for business," said Ravi Sawhney, RKS founder and CEO.
RKS, following up on the success of the KOR ONE Hydration Vessel, created Laundry POD as the latest in a series of eco-conscious designs. While engineering and designing the Smart Touch Salad Spinner for Zyliss, RKS learned that resourceful women were using salad spinners to wash their delicates. Independently, Fran Slutsky, co-owner of leading commercial laundry machine manufacturer American Dryer Corporation, had identified the need for an easy, energy-efficient way to clean small loads of laundry and discovered that salad spinners effectively mimicked washing-machine agitation. After becoming aware of their work for Zyliss, Slutsky enlisted RKS to develop a concept for a hand-powered, high-performance, laundry device for small loads.
The result of this collaboration is Laundry POD - a concept that combines robust spinning technology and an innovative, water-management system to clean clothes. Laundry POD is designed for the times you need to do a small load quickly and don't want to waste water, energy, or a trip to the Laundromat. Intended for delicates, hand-washables, and small "in-between" loads, Laundry POD's spinning action gently washes, rinses, and then extracts water to improve drying times. This ability to rid consumers of the need to wring clothes dry, potentially damaging them in the process, is one of Laundry POD's key advantages.
With no need for a water hook-up, Laundry POD works equally well in a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room and for camping, boating, and RV trips. Laundry POD eliminates the water and energy waste of using large machines for small loads, yet it's small enough for easy storage. When eco-friendly soap is used, the water can be reused for watering plants or flushing toilets. Laundry POD combines innovation and eco-conscious style to save energy, water, and answer the need for an easy way to do small loads quickly. Laundry POD is designed to make consumers feel empowered by offering a choice that makes their lives easier and is environmentally sound.
Greener Gadget submissions were first whittled down to fifty promising finalists which then went through two weeks of online voting before a full day of heated debate at the Greener Gadgets Conference. Finally, the results were in and the judges selected Laundry POD as 4th place in the international competition. "We've seen the need for the product in the field, and to have consumers and design experts give Laundry POD the nod was really rewarding," said Slutsky. "We look forward to partnering with a consumer products company and getting Laundry POD into the hands of consumers."