Kingston University design student Lee Wei Chen has married the mundane task of laundry with the excitement of and fun of an arcade gaming. Though the engineering marvel seems to defy classification on first inspection, Chen's creation is actually just a simple front-loading washing machine built into the lower half of a vintage arcade cabinet. The circuitry is intertwined so that a player must progress to certain stages in the game before the washing cycle will move to the next stage in the wash. Like an ordinary washer, the cabinet turns on when money is inserted, but if a player performs poorly, the machine will require more coins to finish the load.
“I realized that the skills I had developed in the virtual world were useless in the real world. I wanted to make them useful,” explained Chen to Design Week.
Obviously this particular device is useless for those of us who don't want to stand around while our clothes chug through a rinse cycle, but the idea of combining household chores with gaming is still innovative. Even if the idea catches on we probably won't be seeing triple-A titles attached to appliances, like a Gears of War microwave or Call of Duty refrigerator: “The Cold War,” but there's no reason a clever designer couldn't use game design principles to make ordinary tasks a bit less tedious.
Sep 26, 2011