A new gadget is going to help physically disabled people become more independent with the helping paw of their faithful pooch.
The “Woof to Wash” portable washing machine recently made its début in the United Kingdom as the first front-loading laundry machine that can be turned on by the sound of a dog’s bark.
While many dogs trained to assist their disabled owners are able to complete a multitude of tasks like stripping beds, filling laundry baskets and even loading washing machines, they are unable to assist in operating gadgets around the house.
The Woof to Wash features a push-button on the bottom to pop the door on the machine, a rope installed on the door so the dog can open it with his or her mouth, and a sensor that detects the animal’s bark to turn the machine on and off.
The machine was developed with innovative technology from leading UK laundry specialist JTM service and in partnership with manufacturer Miele Professional. Founded in Leeds in 1983 by MD John Middleton, JTM Service provides laundry facilities and services for more than 100 social housing providers and 800 care homes from the Scottish Borders to the Midlands, according to the product’s website.
“We developed this machine because mainstream products with complex digital controls seldom meet the needs of the disabled user. We had already created a single programme, one button machine, to make life easier for people with a range of different needs. When we heard about the amazing work Support Dogs does, the ‘Woof to Wash’ was an obvious next step,” said the machine’s inventor, John Middleton, managing director of JTM.
The machine features a single 40 degree wash cycle and automatically dispenses the correct amount of detergent, taking the guess work out of the process.
This kind of technology, says Middleton, “could be invaluable to people who are visually impaired, have manual dexterity problems, autism or learning difficulties.”
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Megan Abraham is a staff writer for SiteProNews.