The magic machine

The New Indian express- 22nd September 2018

In the early 90s, automatic and semi-automatic washing machines manufactured and promoted by prominent brands like Videocon, IFB and TVS became the ‘to-buy’ device on several family shopping lists. A report from 1990 estimated that about 1,75,000 washing machines worth approximately `120 crores would be sold in India that year. The ‘magic’ machine became a symbol of status, convenience, and an essential feature of middle-class homes. As predicted, about three decades later, the device has become a part and parcel of most of our lives. From households, smart laundry services to laundromats — the drum rotates. But, there are several individuals and families who don’t have the access or means to buy one and still wash dirty laundry using their hands. In an attempt to make the back-breaking task of handwashing clothes easier, S Ramani, a retired professor from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, who is a design engineer, has created a Non-Electric Manually Operated Washing machine (NEMOW).
“About two years back, my wife and I came across housemaids and homemakers who couldn’t afford a washing machine. They washed clothes by hand and it often led to severe lower back pain and/or dermatological problems due to long hours of soaking their hands in detergent water. My wife said, ‘You have done so much in engineering. Why don’t you find a way to solve this?’ That’s how it began,” says Ramani, who runs Simple Solutions. On average, only two out of the 7.6 billion people in the world have access to washing machines.

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