back to article Bluetooth-enabled miracle washing orbs? Are you kidding?

If you're one of those still waiting impatiently for the bloody flying car and robot butler we were promised back in the 1950s, and need a consolation quick fix of 21st-century domestic tech, then have a shufti at the Crystal Wash 2.0 - a bluetooth-enabled miracle washing orb currently the subject of a Kickstarter tin-rattle …

  1. Jimboom

    To make claims like that

    They must have some large balls.

    I'll get me coat. It's the one with the bioceramic pins on it.

  2. Nigel Whitfield.

    Blimey!

    My favourite bit of the video is the bloke uttering "This could change the way people do laundry" with a straight face.

    And, honestly, I'm not sure I could cope with the awesomeness of a notification when the laundry is done. I think if I ever felt awe at any aspect of housework, I'd need a lie down.

    1. JeevesMkII

      Re: Blimey!

      Our washing machine bleeps ceaselessly once the cycle is finished until you open the door. Believe me when I say awe is not the feeling this feature inspires.

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: Blimey!

        Quite. Mine just turns off and I can hear the click of the door unlocking. Honestly, if I was far enough away that I needed a notification on my phone, the last thing on my mind would be rushing back home to dick about with laundry.

        1. SteveK

          Re: Blimey!

          Honestly, if I was far enough away that I needed a notification on my phone, the last thing on my mind would be rushing back home to dick about with laundry.

          And as the connectivity between balls and phone seems to be bluetooth, presumably you can only be in an adjacent room at most.

          1. Nigel Whitfield.

            Re: Blimey!

            Don't worry. I'm sure they'll be able to launch a "Laundry hub" that plugs in near your washing machine and bridges the magic ball Bluetooth connection to the wifi. Or perhaps they'll be able to do a deal with appliance manufacturers for 'smart' washing machines that have Bluetooth built in an ethernet connection on the back...

            <hides, whimpering, in corner>

    2. TheProf Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Blimey!

      "This could change the way people do laundry" followed by the 'cha-chunk' sound of a pump-action shotgun.

      Now I'm interested.

  3. ravenviz Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Mr / Mrs / Miss / Ms / Dr / Sir / Dame

    +1 for using the word frottage!

  4. Sir Barry

    Is this needed?

    This really looks like using technology to solve a problem that doesn't exist.

    It would be much better if they created a washing machine robot that could load/unload the washing machine and then iron. I have a beta model at the moment, but she can be temperamental...

    1. Cliff

      Re: Is this needed?

      The problem that does exist is that you have money and the seller doesn't. This solves that problem through the power of 'now with more technology and lab coats and clipboards and stuff!'

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Is this needed?

      >This really looks like using technology to solve a problem that doesn't exist.

      >It would be much better if they created a washing machine robot that could load/unload the washing machine and then iron.

      I think building design could provide ways of making washing easier... for example, having a chute from the first floor landing down to the utility room.

      Whilst they were at it, a 'grey water' system could be incorporated, so that toilets can be flushed with water from the washing machine and shower.

      Regards ironing robots... maybe an easier approach to this problem is better textile technology... I seem to recall a shirt that contained a titanium 'memory alloy', so the shirt could be 'pressed' by zapping it with a hair-dryer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Re: Is this needed?

        "maybe an easier approach to this problem is better textile technology"

        it's called polyester.

        Mines, the one in bright orange and brown.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this needed?

      @ Sir Barry.

      You need the upgrade to WIFE 2.0

      1. Sir Barry

        Re: Is this needed?

        @ cornz

        WIFE 2.0???

        It wasn't that long ago that I upgraded from MUM 3.0 to GIRLFRIEND 1.2

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    Funny...

    ...have you every washed clothes without any detergent or magic balls? You'll find you get pretty much the same results.

    Water + motion will get most dirt out.

    Something several thousands of years of knowledge have magically been wiped away by Proctor and Gamble etc....

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Funny...

      But we're a picky society. Sure, water can get most stuff off, but we also want the rest off. That's why even back then, we knew to use soap to help dislodge more stubborn dirt. Put it this way. We use soap to try and avoid having to wash things twice.

    2. tony72

      Re: Funny...

      Very droll, but somewhat misleading. The benefits of soap for cleaning over water alone have long been recognized, considerably before Proctor and Gamble et al ever came on the scene. This is as true for cleaning laundry as it is for cleaning oneself. Yes, you'll get most of the easy dirt out if you wash without detergent, but there will be significant dirt that you would clean with detergent that you won't with plain water, especially the greasy or fatty stuff.

      And modern laundry detergents have other benefits in addition to basic cleaning; as someone who lives in an extremely hard water area (think visible chalk layer after one boil of the kettle after descaling), I can guarantee that that expensive washing machine wouldn't last five minutes without the water softeners contained in the detergent.

      That's detergent though. Magical bio-ceramic balls, I think I can live without.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Funny...

        "Think visible chalk layer after one boil of the kettle after descaling"

        A scalecatcher (stainless steel wool thing) and only using filtered water to fill the thing will help a lot.

        That's not much help for the washing machine unless you get one of those big plumbed in systems though, and those descaling agents in washing powder have their own sets of problems.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Funny...

      "Water + motion will get most dirt out."

      With the "magic balls" providing a bit more "thumping action" as seen on a flat rock at a river near you in the old days.

      Shifting dirt isn't the same thing as pulling out stains and grease though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Funny...

        With the "magic balls" providing a bit more "thumping action" as seen on a flat rock at a river near you in the old days.

        Sounds like a 70's porn shoot...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: Funny...

      Personally 95% of my clothes don't have stains. I've learnt to eat and drink.

      But do you need the whole scoop, even with 2 young kids in toe, you find that it's easy to use a 1/4 the amount in most case. yes if the spag bol has decided that it's natural home is the school shirt, your going to need more, but day to day stuff, it's fine to use much, much less than recommended for most people.

      That's why most eco washes are near the 3 hour mark now, it's more about soaking than washing.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sphericals

    This https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laundry_ball with knobs on.

    But it does remind me to chuck out the pair that the Mrs. bought some time ago.

  7. Archaon

    It's worth noting that they try and flog the Crystal Wash (1.0?) for $50 whereas the Biocera version (which appears to be the same thing) sells for $30 and cheaper alternatives appear to be about $20. Not to mention it's a product that's not generally considered to work and apparently is the cause of some wrist-slapping in the USA over misleading advertising etc. Although that said, how much of that is fuelled by the likes of P&G is another question.

    Anyways, I digress from what I was going to say. Which is that given how worthless the bluetooth functionality appears to be (come on, really?) the cynic inside me would suggest that this is a slick bit of marketing to get people to go on their website and pay $50 for a $20-30 product.

    Please excuse the use of yankee money, Amazon.com appeared to give the largest range of such balls.

    1. User McUser

      given how worthless the bluetooth functionality appears to be

      Doubly so given that water is a relatively good absorber of 2.4Ghz frequencies and the metal skin of the washer probably makes a very lovely Faraday cage.

    2. Tom 35

      I notice some have the added woo of magnets.

      Maybe I should start selling some with pyramid shaped crystals stuck on the ends.

  8. John Gamble
    Boffin

    Adding Bluetooth Totally Makes This Not A Fraud!

    The Straight Dope dealt with this nonsense eighteen years ago: Do laundry balls really work?.

    "Taking all this into consideration, I figure laundry balls aren't just the name of the product, they're what you need to sell it."

    1. DropBear
      Facepalm

      Re: Adding Bluetooth Totally Makes This Not A Fraud!

      Exactly. This belongs on that nice show mr. Penn and mr. Teller used to make. I believe it was called "BULLSHIT".

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old Dr Hokum's Patent Snake Oil Elixir

    Makes your whites whiter and your coloureds (meant in a clothes way not in the Benedict Cumberbatch way) brighter.

    Removes stains from teeth, eases joint pain, encourages hair growth where you want it and removes hair from where you don't.

    Cures all maladies, cold, coughs, shivers, shingles, pleurisy, bronchitis, Leprosy and Ebola.

    Makes the crippled walk, and feeble of mind sane.

    Men take twice a day to pep up your virility, Women put is in you partners tea to calm his ardor.

    NOW WITH BLUETOOTH!!!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crystals

    Reminds me of a time back in the 1970s when visiting a New Age community. The guide pointed to the pointed roof of their new meeting hall. He explained that there was a crystal suspended by gold wires - which would generate electricity from the group's concentrated thoughts. When the process was up and running it was going to free them from having to use electricity from a utility company feed.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Crystals

      Yes, but how many KW did they ultimately achieve?

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Coat

        Re: Crystals

        Is the Krackpot Weirdo a recognised SI unit?

      2. DropBear
        Boffin

        Re: Crystals

        "Yes, but how many KW did they ultimately achieve?"

        I suppose that depends on how far they were from the nearest radio / TV broadcast station, and the number of, um, turns said loop of golden wire may have had. Considering you do actually need a "crystal" to demodulate things to something usable, I'd say those folks were bang on!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crystals

      If the commune had the ability to mind-affect the crystal, why even bother converting that power to electricity, with the losses that would entail? Wouldn't it be more efficient to apply such power directly to the job at hand?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Crystals

        "Wouldn't it be more efficient to apply such power directly to the job at hand?"

        They also had a doctrine according to "Roc" that they could achieve beneficial changes to crops by communing with them. Basically you told the plant what you wanted it to do.

        It was interesting during the indoctrination film to see many of the eager new recruits were fast asleep. In the Q&A session afterwards the instructors were wrong-footed - when it was pointed out that much of their own produce was grown from agro-business infertile hybrids from the local seed merchant.

        1. Nigel Whitfield.

          Re: Crystals

          Sounds like they heard Karen Carpenter singing "in your mind you have capacities you know" and thought "you know, she's got a point there"

        2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: Crystals

          Basically you told the plant what you wanted it to do.

          I tried that, it didn't work. Last time I hire an intern.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
            Happy

            Re: Crystals

            Works fine for me. My triffid, spot, now understands "sit", "stay" and "walkies". Although I'm still have trouble teaching it to not kill and eat visitors...

    3. DiViDeD

      Re: Crystals

      Although I think he used copper wire rather than gold, there was a guy back in the 80s(?) who built a 'Tesla Coil' in his loft and used it to power his house lights sith the RF from (I think) Droitwitch transmitter.

      He was only discovered when the Beeb sent out engineers to map the output after complaints from listeners.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And I thought they had solved the problem of the teleporting sock and the bluetooth link would rell you just where it went (shades of SF of the 60s).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For that to work you have to place the ball inside the sock and tie it off...

  12. Simon Harris
    WTF?

    Did I sleep through February and March?

    Surely it must be April 1st?

    1. DropBear
      Unhappy

      Re: Did I sleep through February and March?

      Naaah, this is usual Kickstarter fare these days. It's a really slow week if there aren't at least three-four new "energy from NOTHING!!!" projects...

  13. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Sir, Sir!

    Lester's shrinking his water molecule clusters again, Sir! Tell him, Sir!

  14. Sebastian A

    Kickstarter "Staff pick" badge

    Thanks for making it clear that I can freely ignore those in the future.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kickstarter "Staff pick" badge

      "Thanks for making it clear that I can freely ignore those in the future."

      You wrong the Reg staff. I believe they realize this is a sham product, and thus produced this article as a full-on satire/comedy piece. It's basically filler, employed to keep things moving along during slack times on the tech front.

      That said, it has basically worked. This thread is as least in the top ten percent, entertainment-wise. Nice going, Reg. :-)

      1. Sebastian A

        Re: Kickstarter "Staff pick" badge

        I'm not taking a jab at the Vulture staff, just the Kickstarter one.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Kickstarter "Staff pick" badge

          Sorry, my dumb mistake. Sixth-grade reading comprehension I guess. I withdraw the charge.

  15. Magani
    Alert

    Painful

    "...you have to leave your balls in full sun for an afternoon, ..."

    I'll have you know that I tried this here in the Greater Antipodes. The doctor says that I'll be able to walk normally in a few weeks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Painful

      "I'll have you know that I tried this here in the Greater Antipodes. The doctor says that I'll be able to walk normally in a few weeks."

      You fool! You're supposed to work up to it gradually.

  16. Mike Flugennock
    FAIL

    Oh, great, more "crowdfunding" fuckery...

    ...for another solution in search of a problem -- kinda' like presentation software.

  17. Cuddles Silver badge

    Bluetooth?

    So these balls will only tell you the status of your washing machine if you're standing within a couple of metres of it? How incredibly useful.

  18. Dominion
    FAIL

    What speed is the spin cycle?

  19. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Happy

    Now, if you excuse us, Matthew has just brought in an SPB labcoat soaked in oil, blood, dissolved mud, coffee, red wine, ink and ketchup...

    So what you're saying is, you fried his liver with some baked beans and a nice chianti...

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Pretty close...

  20. SteveK

    I guess what could be a good idea with smart washing appliances (and suitable tags in clothing):

    "Wash temperature of 60 degrees not compatible with items to be washed"

    "I'm detecting a red sock left inside along with an otherwise white wash - are you sure you wish to proceed?"

    But then again:

    "Open the washing machine door"

    "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that"

  21. skeptical i
    Devil

    Duuuuuude! I can TALK TO MY SOCKS

    when they're in the washing machine!!!

    Jeebus, all we need are tiny cameras and lights in their own waterproof spheres for hours of "laundry cam" entertainment.

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