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UW Researchers Pioneer Way for Ordering Laundry Detergent with 3D Printing

By KOMO 4 News

April 17, 2018

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University of Washington (UW) researchers have developed a three-dimensional (3D)-printing method that can monitor laundry detergent use, and place an order when the supply is running low.

The new system includes a cellphone, a 3D printer, plastic-and-copper filament, and a router.

"We were thinking about ways people can order things automatically, without pressing a button," says UW's Justin Chan.

As the laundry liquid pours out of the container, the device tracks the speed of the flow and interfaces with an antenna. The speed at which the device turns as the detergent flows past it indicates how much soap there is, and if the speed drops below a certain threshold, the antenna signal is picked up by a Wi-Fi router and sends the information to the user's Amazon app to order more.

The researchers say their designs are readily available online for free download and use.

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