Title:
Connecting Clothes and Washing Machine
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A washing system and to a method for washing clothing is disclosed. In some embodiments, the washing system comprises: a washing unit for washing clothing items, a tag connected to a clothing item (the tag being configured for transmitting one or more predetermined parameters associated with the clothing item), and a computing unit for receiving the one or more predetermined parameters transmitted from the tag. The computing unit is configured to send to the washing unit an instruction in dependence on the parameters received from tags attached to clothing situated in the washing unit such that a setting of the washing unit is adjusted for washing the clothing items situated in the washing unit. In this way, a possibility is provided for automatically getting the information about whether correct colours are combined, whether the washing temperature and other parameters are correct, and how many clothes are inside the washing unit.


Inventors:
Larmo, Anna (Espoo, FI)
Keranen, Ari (Kirkkonummi, FI)
Li, Daoyuan (Espoo, FI)
Susitaival, Riikka (Helsinki, FI)
Application Number:
13/715499
Publication Date:
06/12/2014
Filing Date:
12/14/2012
Assignee:
Telefonaktiebolaget L M Ericsson (publ) (Stockholm, SE)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
68/12.02
International Classes:
D06F33/02
View Patent Images:
Foreign References:
EP2302122
Other References:
English Machine Translation of Description of EP 0911710 A2 (Moschuetz, 1997)
Claims:
1. A washing system comprising: a washing unit for washing clothing; a computing unit for (i) receiving from a tag attached to an article of clothing in the washing unit information corresponding to the item of clothing and (ii) sending to the washing unit an instruction based on the received information so that a washing setting of the washing unit can be automatically adjusted based on the clothing item.

2. The washing system according to claim 1, wherein the information corresponding to the clothing item comprises one or more of an identification, a washing temperature, a colour, a type of the least one clothing, a number of times that the at least one clothing has been washed and/or a parameter indicating how dirty the at least one clothing is.

3. The washing system according to claim 1, wherein the information corresponding to the clothing item is stored in the tag and/or in the computing unit.

4. The washing system according to claim 1, wherein the washing unit comprises a washing drum configured for blocking a signal outside of the washing drum.

5. The washing system according to claim 4, wherein the washing unit further comprises a detecting unit configured for counting the number of clothing items inside the washing drum.

6. The washing system according to claim 4, wherein the washing unit further comprises a scanning unit configured for scanning the tag before inserting the clothing item at least partly into the washing drum.

7. The washing system according to claim 6, wherein the washing unit further comprises a door and the detecting unit is arranged at least partly at the door inside the washing drum.

8. The washing system according to claim 5, wherein the detecting unit comprises a power meter configured for detecting the number of clothing items inside the washing drum.

9. The washing system according to claim 5, wherein the washing unit further comprises a surface and the detecting unit is arranged at least partly on the surface.

10. The washing system according to claim 5, wherein the detecting unit comprises a gateway reader configured for detecting the number of clothing items inside the washing drum.

11. The washing system according to claim 10, wherein the gateway reader reads the tag of the clothing item as the clothing item passes through the door of the washing unit into the washing drum.

12. The washing system according to claim 4, wherein the washing drum comprises a Faraday cage.

13. The washing system according to claim 1, wherein the computing unit is further configured for obtaining a set of parameters based on the received information and forwarding the set of parameters as an instruction to the washing unit.

14. The washing system according to claim 1, wherein the computing unit comprises a database and/or a server.

15. A method for washing clothing comprising the steps of: a) sending a plurality of predetermined parameters associated with at least one clothing item; and b) checking the plurality of predetermined parameters received; and c) sending an instruction based on the result of the checking step such that a washing setting is adjusted that is configured for washing the at least one clothing item in accordance with a predetermined condition.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates to a washing system.

BACKGROUND

For a user of a washing system it is rather difficult to get the information whether correct colours of clothing are combined in a washing unit, whether the washing temperature adjusted is correct for all pieces of clothing inside the washing unit, etc. This leads often to a reduced washing quality which shows itself in the fact that the clothing is not adequately cleaned and/or that wrong colours have been combined and thus clothing has lost its original colour and cannot be worn anymore. In case of wrong washing temperature, it may even happen that a piece of clothing has shrunk so small that it cannot be worn anymore, or that the fabric is damaged in some other way e.g. due to too high temperature or due to a too fast spin. Furthermore, sorting the laundry for washing takes time and effort and increases the amount of time a user needs to spend on household chores.

SUMMARY

It is the object of the invention to provide a possibility for automatically getting the information about whether correct colours are combined, whether the washing temperature and other parameters are correct, and how many clothes are inside the washing unit.

This object is achieved by the subject matter of the independent claims. Preferred embodiments are defined in the sub claims.

According to a first aspect of the invention, this object is achieved by a washing system comprising a washing unit configured for washing at least one clothing, wherein a tag is connectable to the at least one clothing and the tag is configured for sending a plurality of predetermined parameters associated with the at least one clothing, and a computing unit configured for checking the plurality of predetermined parameters received from the tag, wherein the computing unit is further configured for sending an instruction to the washing unit such that a washing setting of the washing unit is adjusted that is configured for washing the at least one clothing in accordance with a predetermined condition. Advantageously, a user gets an automatic water temperature setting and also is warned when a certain piece of clothing should not be put inside the washing unit or run with other pieces of clothing present in the washing unit in a stage of a washing program. The term “clothing” is not only limited to clothing in its general sense and its content can be used in singular and/or plural form in the following. It is noted that the term “clothing” may also refer to at least one of table cloth, towels, curtains, textiles and the like.

It is an idea of the invention to be applicable on a washing system that corresponds to a washing machine and/or to a dryer. The idea is thus applicable to a washing machine that also dries clothing. Many people or users have both a washer and a dryer. Some clothing is preferably dried with high temperatures while some other clothing is preferably dried with low temperatures or not in the dryer at all. It is a further idea of the invention that after the computing unit receives information about the clothing from the tag, wherein the information preferably corresponds to the plurality of predetermined parameters associated with the clothing, an instruction is sent, that preferably corresponds to a feedback mechanism, to the washing unit such that the appropriate washing setting for washing the at least one clothing is adjusted or it is signalled that the clothing should be removed from the washing unit. The term “an instruction is sent to the washing unit such that the washing setting of the washing unit is adjusted that is configured for washing the at least one clothing in accordance with a predetermined condition” refers to the fact that a washing setting is selected that is adequate for washing the at least one clothing in the washing unit such that a desired result is obtained. The desired result is preferably preset according to the predetermined condition. The predetermined condition preferably comprises at least one of the following possibilities: achieving a predefined washing quality so that the clothing becomes clean after washing, reject washing since clothing is not adequate for washing together with other pieces of clothing such that it is avoided that a piece of clothing is destroyed or cannot be used anymore after washing, accept washing since clothing is suited of being washed together with other pieces of clothing, signal, such as by using an alarm signal, that the clothing should be removed from inside the washing unit. The signal can be any kind of signal configured for warning a user to either not put the clothing inside the washing unit or to take it out again, for instance because the washing unit is too full or is out of order for a period. Further, the desired result can also be to figure out if one clothing or a piece of clothing belongs to another piece of clothing and should be washed together, for instance a left sock is always washed with a corresponding right sock. The term “connectable” preferably comprises a mechanical connection, i.e. connectable corresponds to attachable, and/or an electronic connection.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the plurality of predetermined parameters associated with the at least one clothing comprises an identification, a washing temperature, a colour, a type of the at least one clothing, a number of times that the at least one clothing has been washed and/or a parameter indicating how dirty the at least one clothing is. Preferably, the plurality of predetermined parameters associated with the at least one clothing is stored in the tag and/or in the computing unit. Preferably, the washing program or washing setting is chosen according to fabric type of the clothing and/or spin frequency of the washing system.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the washing unit comprises a washing drum configured for blocking a signal outside of the washing drum. The washing drum preferably comprises a metal layer so that a signal present outside of the metal layer cannot be detected. The signal can be any kind of signal that is adequate for near-field communication applications, NFC applications for short. The washing unit preferably further comprises a detecting unit configured for counting the number of clothing inside the washing drum. The washing unit preferably further comprises a scanning unit configured for scanning the tag before inserting the at least one clothing at least partly into the washing drum such that the plurality of predetermined parameters are checked by the computing unit when the tag stops sending the plurality of predetermined parameters associated with the at least one clothing or when the tag is not within a predetermined range to the washing unit such that sending the plurality of predetermined parameters associated with the at least one clothing has not started or is interrupted. Hence, it is possible to extract the necessary information by simply scanning the tag.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the washing unit further comprises a door and the detecting unit is arranged at least partly at the door inside the washing drum. The detecting unit preferably comprises a power meter configured for detecting the number of clothing inside the washing drum. The washing unit preferably further comprises a surface and the detecting unit is arranged at least partly on the surface or the detecting unit is arranged at least partly at the door inside the washing drum. The detecting unit preferably comprises a gateway reader configured for detecting the number of clothing inside the washing drum. The gateway reader preferably reads the tag of the at least one clothing as the at least one clothing passes through the door of the washing unit into the washing drum. The tag is preferably read and feedback is given with a predefined latency, so that a user or a person inputting the items or different pieces of clothing receives feedback while still holding the item or the clothing, respectively. Hence, the predefined latency is preferably short. This way, the input of clothing that is not compatible with the planned washing program can be withdrawn immediately and the washing drum does not need to be emptied to find the wrongly inputted piece of clothing.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the washing drum comprises a Faraday cage. Hence, signals from outside the washing drum will not affect the washing setting. The Faraday cage arranged inside the washing drum preferably limits the area in which the reading of the tag occurs to inside the washing drum. Hence, the washing drum preferably acts as a Faraday cage and cuts the detecting range to be preferably inside the washing unit. This is advantageous otherwise everything outside the predetermined range or detecting range that is preferably on the order of 2 to 5 metres or even above would also be detected and thus would lead to a false adjustment of the washing setting.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the computing unit is further configured for changing at least one parameter out of the plurality of predetermined parameters to at least one different value such that a new set of predetermined parameters is obtained and forwards the new set of predetermined parameters as the instruction to the washing unit such that the predetermined condition is obtained. A new instruction is preferably obtained by changing at least one parameter. A computing unit preferably comprises a database and/or a server.

According to a second aspect of the invention, above mentioned object is achieved by a method for washing clothing comprising the steps of: a) sending a plurality of predetermined parameters associated with at least one clothing, and b) checking the plurality of predetermined parameters received, and c) sending an instruction based on the result of the checking step such that a washing setting is adjusted that is configured for washing the at least one clothing in accordance with a predetermined condition.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiments that are given by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the figures:

FIG. 1 shows a washing system according to a first preferred embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 2 illustrates the steps of a method for washing clothing according to a second preferred embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 shows a washing system according to a first preferred embodiment of the invention. The washing system comprises a washing unit 1 that is configured for washing five pieces of clothing 8 which are indicated as A, B, C, D and E in FIG. 1. Corresponding tags 9 are mechanically connected to the five pieces of clothing, i.e. each tag 9 is attached to the corresponding clothing 8. A tag 9 sends two predetermined parameters, an identification of the corresponding clothing 8 and a washing temperature, according to this first preferred embodiment of the invention, to a computing unit 2. The computing unit 2 checks the two predetermined parameters received from the tag 9 and sends an instruction to the washing unit 1 such that the washing setting of the washing unit 1 is adjusted. The washing unit 1 is configured for washing the five pieces of clothing 8 in accordance with a desired result. Further, all parameters associated with the five pieces of clothing 8 are stored in the tag 9 and in the computing unit 2 in this first preferred embodiment.

Hence, a user gets to know whether the different colours of the five pieces of clothing 8 are combinable and the washing temperature is correct and would also get to know about how often the different pieces of clothing 8 have been used and how dirty they are. The detection range is given to be five metres in this first preferred embodiment of the invention. Hence, only clothing inside the washing unit 1 or close to the washing unit, i.e. in the detection range, is considered. A power meter 3 is arranged inside the washing drum which corresponds to a metal Faraday cage in this first preferred embodiment. Only clothing inside the Faraday cage is counted. According to other preferred embodiments, instead of a power meter a gateway reader is used. According to this first preferred embodiment of the invention, in addition to the power meter 3 also a gateway reader 4 is used. In this first preferred embodiment, three pieces of clothing A, B and C are detected to be inside the washing drum whereas two pieces of clothing D and E are lying outside and are thus not detected. According to yet other preferred embodiments of the invention a sensing unit is activated only when the clothing is in water, for instance if the sensing unit is based on a humidity sensor.

FIG. 2 schematically shows the steps of a method for washing clothing according to a second preferred embodiment of the invention. In a first step, a plurality of predetermined parameters associated with at least one clothing is sent 5. In a second step, the plurality of predetermined parameters received is checked 6. Finally, an instruction based on the result of the checking step 6 is sent 7 such that the appropriate washing setting is adjusted.

While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, such illustration and description are to be considered illustrative or exemplarily and not restrictive; the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments.

Other variations to the disclosed embodiments can be understood and affected by those skilled in the art in practicing the claimed invention, from a study of the drawings, the disclosure, and the appended claims. In the claims, the word “comprising” does not exclude other elements or steps, and the indefinite article “a” or “an” does not exclude a plurality. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that the combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage. Any reference signs in the claims should not be construed as limiting the scope.