New washing machine design makes life easier for pensioners and people suffering back problems

A student has designed a prototype for a labour-saving washing machine which aims to make life easier for pensioners and people suffering back problems.

The state-of-the-art machine, which eliminates the need for bending down, was created by BSc (Hons) Product Design student Robert Vasey, as part of his final-year work at The Nottingham Trent University. It is operated by pressing a button, which makes the drum inside extend outwards. Items are then placed into the top of the drum and the cycle begins once it retracts.

It has given Robert cause for a double celebration. Not only has he just graduated from Nottingham Trent, but he has also received a special Vice-Chancellor’s Award made possible thanks to The Nottingham Trent University Trust Fund.

The awards are given to final-year undergraduates who have made the grade in terms of academic excellence, achievement in adversity, or contributions to the community. The 23-year-old is now starting his own business with the aim of getting manufacturers to take up his idea, called a Sunrise.

Robert said: “I wanted to design something to help people and to really make a difference in their everyday lives. The design is far better than a top-loading washing machine as it is smaller so can fit easily into a normal-sized kitchen. With top-loading machines the user also has to bend over to take items out, but not with the Sunrise. It is also more economic.”

The Chief-Executive of the charity BackCare, Nia Taylor, said: “This design would make a huge difference to people with back pain. One of the worst things about having a bad back is the way that it stops you doing those normal everyday activities like shopping and laundry.

She added: “Many people with an acute back pain can not bend down to put washing in a traditional machine and find it even harder to take it out when it is wet and heavy.”

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