Trendspotting CES: Appliances that talk to each other — LG washer/dryer are BFF

Big data, AI and machine learning in the laundry room.

LG ThinQ washer and dryer - Smart Pairing

Keypoints
  • LG unveiled its latest appliances and consumer tech at CES in Las Vegas.
  • "Smart Pairing" enables an LG washer to send information to the dryer about the load and have the appliance automatically select the correct drying cycle.
  • LG says this feature can reduce clothing wear and tear by up to 15%.
Review by Clinton Stark

CES is on in Las Vegas once again. I don’t normally pay attention to home appliances, after all things like AR/VR, robots, AI devices and gadgets of all kinds are typically more interesting and make for more impressive demos. Appliances? How mundane.

However, since I’ve been recently shopping around and researching for a refrigerator to replace our failing (but fantastic) 15 year old KitchenAid side-by-side, I happened upon the LG keynote at CES 2020 on YouTube. I have to admit, it’s pretty impressive. For over an hour various LG presenters showcase the latest in TV, smart home tech, and, yes, washers and dryers and fridges. It’s a lengthy 1 hour show — devoid thankfully of forced comedy and celebrity cameos. Just what’s new and how it may impact our everyday lives.

I was particularly impressed by one feature on the LG washer/dryer tandem: they can talk to each other.

Well sort of.

The idea is that when most of us dump a load of clothing into a washing machine we just stick with the auto or default program. Let the cycle finish. Pop the stuff into the dryer and do the same thing, stick with the defaults — too confusing and time consuming to figure out all the other modes.

LG has a potential solution:

AI. Big data.

And machine learning.

By using data and a bunch of sensors in the washer, it figures out (in theory at least) what type of fabrics have been loaded and the mass, before then selecting the appropriate mode. This happens all automatically and so you — we — don’t need to burn our brains out just trying to get our laundry done.

The trick part, the cool demo thing, is when you then transfer the completed load into the dryer.

LG’s new ThinQ machines will communicate with each other. That is, “the connected appliance”.

In this case, the washer will let the dryer know information about the load it just completed via something LG calls “Smart Pairing”. The dryer then says thank you very much, and then knows also what cycle to choose thanks to the knowledge based on, machine to machine. In the words of LG marketing lingo: “automatically synchronize to protect your clothes.”

LG ThinQ Washer and Dryer - CES 2020

LG says because the optimal cycle is chosen, clothing wear and tear is reduced by 15%.

Of course I have know idea how well this all plays out in practice. Given how well our existing LG washer and dryer works I have little doubt this kind of technology will work.

“The next generation of laundry”

Given what companies like Samsung, Apple, Google and LG are doing with their smartphone technology, cramming so much incredible capability into a tiny form factor, it’s not the most shattering thing to think two home appliances can share information with each other. I do think, however, this washer-to-dryer data hand-off is a subtle yet clever use of data and AI/machine learning to help simplify an everyday chore. Hmm, life is good.

As for replacing our ailing KitchenAid fridge? That LG InstaView with door-in-door tech looks pretty cool (and expensive!). Then again, I always fall hard and fast for the nerdy tech stuff.

You can watch the LG CES press conference in the video below:

Note: go to about 35:00 for the LG ThinQ washer and dryer segment

(and yes, I know, 8K TV! Wow! Detail! Pores! I don’t know… aren’t we just fine with 4K for now?)

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