Bosch's New Dishwasher Design: A Laser Light Show

Bosch brings functionality to high-end appliances.

Any woman walking down the sidewalk wearing high heals will confirm the old belief that dressing well often comes at the expense of comfort. Well, the German manufacturer Bosch happens to disagree—and yes, we just made the leap from the world of fashion to the world of large household appliances. The design of an appliance can occasionally hamper its usability; such is the case with a fully integrated dishwasher, whose sleek exterior comes at the cost of having to hide the controls inside the lip of the door frame. Bosch introduced the TimeLight feature just one year ago to fix this problem, and it's a very exciting piece of technology for consumers that normally feel the urge to place appearance over function.

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Using a projecting device located at the bottom of the dishwasher, the TimeLight will display a cycle's remaining time, what cycle type is running, and what point of the cycle the appliance has reached (pre-wash, rinse, etc.). This can let homeowner's plan their chores with much more accuracy than is possible compared to those who own a fully integrated machine that lacks this feature. Now consumers won't have to make a tradeoff between the attractive qualities of having a fully integrated dishwasher and the knowledge that is available on machines sporting informative, albeit unsightly or visually disruptive exterior controls.

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Bosch first tried to address this issue about five years ago by introducing the InfoLight feature, a small red dot that turned on whenever the dishwasher was running. This was designed to help prevent consumers from opening their very quiet dishwashers before a cycle had fully completed. While helpful, it still wasn't all that informative. That's where TimeLight comes in, combing the subtlety of the InfoLight feature while maintaining the visual uniformity that makes a fully integrated machine such a prize for some consumers.

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If you're worried about not being able to see the projection, we have good news for you. The image and time displayed on the showroom floor was large enough to be easily seen while standing at full height. There was also a slew of sample floor types, such as different wood grains, marble, and tile, all of which were available in many different shades and colors. Not a single floor sample there resulted in an inability to see the information that was being projected.

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Despite its useful functionality, TimeLight probably won't be found in very many American households, despite the fact that it's been available on full-sized dishwashers for about a year, and will be available on compact models before this year is out. There are two reasons behind this. First, it's a feature that's only available in Europe, so unless you want to convert your currency to euros and invest in large-product shipping, you're stuck. Also, anyone on a budget will have to pass. According to a Bosch representative on the showroom floor, the TimeLight was originally available on just the premium dishwashers, and is only now being built into their mid-range products. It's essentially the same marketing schedule that was seen with the InfoLight (also a European exclusive), which is now making its way down to the lower-cost models as it gets replaced by the new feature.

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The value of what TimeLight successfully offers is something that just seems to make common sense. As such, we can only hope that it won't be long before Bosch attaches it to products in the American market...or at least some local manufacturer will be a good little copycat and develop a similar feature before Bosch gets around to it.

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