Most dishwashers come equipped with an indicator that lets people know when the dishes have gone through a complete washing cycle. Some people will open the dishwasher and get some clean dishes, but they won't unload it completely. The "clean" indicator will turn off, but people might not know whether the dishes are clean.
This gadget uses a flashing green LED to let people know the dishes are clean. An infrared proximity sensor detects the presence of a person near the dishwasher and turns on the LED circuit. The LED state remains set until someone completely empties the dishwasher. Even after you open the door and take out only a few dishes, the green LED will flash when people approach the dishwasher, so they see a reminder to unload it completely.
After the dishwasher is emptied, a red LED starts flashing, and people can start to load it with dirty dishes. Now no one will have any doubt about whether the dishwasher is full of dirty or clean dishes. The indicator tells it all.
Jitendra Tailor's gadget uses a proximity sensor and a flashing LED to alert his family members when to unload clean dishes from the dishwasher or load it with dirty dishes.
Here are the mounting positions of the LEDs and the infrared proximity sensor on the outside of the diskwasher's kick plate.
Mrdon - I guess a mechanical engineer thinks "Pressure-sensor" while (perhaps) an Optics Engineer thinks "vision sensor"-? Vision is probably a more waterproof solution ,,, I honestly don't have direct experience with either type sensor – Just thinking out loud.
Cadman-LT, Sometimes our world can get really busy and we tend to forget the little household chores for example unloading the dishwasher. A little electronic reminder sometimes help to keep us on task and orderly.
JimT, The pressure sensor is a cool way to detect when the dishwasher is full or empty because of the absence or presence of weight from the dishes. I guess the only concerns in using the device are to ensure the sensor is tolerant to water while being in the dishwasher and not voiding the product's warranty by the install of the sensing unit. Nice idea though!
Nancy, I agree. The audible and visual indicators on consumer appliances reminds me of Tom's Igoe Make book, Making Things Talk. The book describes through Maker projects how to add sensors, microcontrollers, LEDs, speakers, and other audible/visual indicators to present information. This Dishwater Indicator is just an example of making things talk or communicate information: in this case when the diswasher needs to be unloaded. Cool Gadget Freak device!!!.
I definitely agree, Nancy. It's a good idea for big families. When five or six or seven or more people use the dishwasher, it's almost impossible to keep everyone on the same page, especially when you have people running it late at night.
In reading the article, that was also my immediate first question. My mind went to a pressure sensor on the rack rails, to gauge the extra weight of the dishes. But I like the vision sensor idea too --
Cadman, we raise our kids with a very strong work ethic and laziness is not tolerated in our home (although relaxing is and there is a difference). That said, busy families can have hectic schedules which means running the dishwasher and going on to other things - or asking the kids not to run it because its too late at night or I am trying to work on something at the kitchen table and need quiet. I see your point, but for some families it really does make sense to have some type of indicator without encouraging laziness...the wash cycle can take quite awhile so its not a case of just doing the dishes and putting them away...
My kids would forget to flip the magnet, Rob - but I couldn't really get upset with them. More times than not, I forgot too and it's not getting any better the older I get! My son made me some coffee earlier today and I forgot to pour some out of the coffee maker when it was ready until I heard the beep announcing the auto-shutoff two hours later! I think we need these types of gadgets on all of our appliances, especially for folks like me who get easily distracted...
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