Forget your old washing machines — why not have little fish clean your clothes instead? A South Korean industrial designer created Pecera, a "washing machine aquarium" that replaces detergent with robotic fish for the Electrolux Design Lab 2014. The contest debuted in 2003 as a way to challenge undergraduate and graduate students around the world to come up with “innovative ideas for future households.”
If it reminds you of the increasingly popular and controversial fish spa pedicures, it should. Pecera’s designer, Chan Yeop Jeong of Daegu University, was inspired by the way “doctor fish” feed off human skin and set out to imitate that process in creating this revolutionary fabric-washing method.
How does Pecera work? Chan Yeop Jeong’s radical new cleaning technology centers around a collection of robotic 'Dofi' fish that use sensors to detect dirt and grime on your clothes. According to the Pecera website, the little Dofi fleets then suction the dirt particles off of your clothes, while also using “alkaline liquid jelly” to prevent your clothes from becoming damaged or discolored after multiple washes.
At the end of a cycle, the Pecera system spin-dries and drains the water from the machine, leaving with you a bundle of clean clothing.
The whole process takes place in what looks like a fish tank made of chrome steel and clear, reinforced glass. The whole contraption is conveniently elevated to waist-height so you don’t have to strain your back from bending over to retrieve your clean clothes.
What’s most innovative about Pecera, however, is that it’s way more sustainable than your average washing machine. Pecera eliminates the need for laundry detergent, which often includes ingredients that aren’t biodegradable. Plus, the little robot fish run on hydroelectric power, which makes the design even more environmentally-friendly.
Chan Yeop Jeong
also noted in his submission that Pecera’s compact, aesthetically-pleasing
design allows users to place it anywhere in the house. I’m not sure how many
people would want to have their washing machine double as a piece of living room
décor, but it’s nice to know that the option is there.