IBM Unveils 'Smart' Laundry
Aug. 30, 2002
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BOSTON (AP) _ College campuses have long since wired their dorms and libraries. Now some are going even further: cyberlaundry.
IBM Corp. hopes a new system of smart, wired washers and dryers will instill a little efficiency in the college dormitory laundry room, letting students keep tabs on their laundry from anywhere they can access the Internet _ their dorm rooms, the library, or even a cell phone.
The Armonk, N.Y.-based company plans to install about 9,000 of the machines on 40 campuses, all so far in the Midwest, including Ohio State University and Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio.
Students can log onto a Web page to see if there are free machines and receive an e-mail or page when the load is finished. The system can also automatically charge students through their ID cards, though it would still accommodate traditional coins.
Users can't reserve machines, but the system could eliminate back-and-forth to the laundry room.
``Where I went to school, if you left your clothes in the machine, it would end up on the floor,'' said Dean Douglas, vice president for IBM Global Services. With the new machines, ``You could be outside throwing a Frisbee or whatever instead of waiting in that laundry room waiting for the load to finish.''
IBM's machines got a trial run last spring on nine washers and 10 dryers at Boston College. The school hasn't decided whether to commit to the devices, but Joe Schott, 25, a residence hall director who lives in a dorm there, said the machine made life easier for students.
Cedarville University plans to have units installed in 150 machines by the spring semester.
``This just seemed like an obvious opportunity to leverage our technological investment for our students,'' Cedarville spokesman Roger Overturf said.