January 5th, 2020

Not my dishwasher. All dishwashers.

Current options:

Litres of Water usedDishes clean RateSizeCost/year
Manual wash15L - 18L1 - 10/minw: 12" - 32"
l: 12" - 24"
h: 6" - 16"
$8200 (@$15/hr)
Dish Washing Machine15L - 20L1.66/minw: 18" - 24"
l: 24"
h: 35"
$150 (energy) + $100 equipment/service

The biggest drawback to manual washing is that it is labour intensive. With boundless time, you can wash endless dishes. Eventually the water will get dirty and humans will be tempted to add new water. Rinsing can also consume several litres of water. But on the bright side, it is completely energy efficient and arguably even exercise.

The dishwashing machine takes up quite a bit more space. It involves less human time, but still a significant amount of time spent loading and unloading the dishwasher. It is pretty water efficient. But quite possibly room for improvement.


For simplicity, we could {utensils, plates, bowls, mugs, glasses, pots, pans} = 1 dish each. We recognise it is easier to increase washing rate by adding more cutlery and reducing pots and pans.

  • Our household currently spends 1.5 hours/day washing dishes by hand + 5 minutes loading + 5 minutes unloading the dishwasher each day. A total of 100 minutes.
  • Our space = Sink Space + Dishwashing Machine Space
  • We do (X dishes by hand + Y dishes by dishwasher)/day


  1. Reduce manual wash time by 100% and dish washing machine manual loading/unloading time by 50% taking the total time from 100 minutes/day to 5 minutes/day.
  2. Leave dishes measurably cleaner than manual and dish washing machine
  3. Achieve within footprint of sink + dishwasher size
  4. Reduce water consumption by 50%
  5. Energy consumption 50% to 1000%. Ideally low, but I do not want to limit capabilities of using robotic arms, UV lights, air compressors, dryer or heat elements etc.
  6. Cost ideally comparable to dish washing machine.

The Stage

Idea #1: Robotic Arms

The idea really does have to stem from Tesla technology. We need to apply machine learning if we want to compete with this product. A machine learning dishwasher is really the only way to go.

The ceiling over the sink has electrical connected so we could access the electrical for the robot arms quite easily. If it is in fact common to have lights over the sink, then this can be incorporated into a scalable design.

The arms would have to look good. They can’t be an eye sore. So they would need to fold up nicely. We would lose the light fixtures which are currently mounted. So this could present an opportunity for a lighting upgrade which could be integrated with a Google Home/Nest setup.

The dishwasher is right next to the sink. I don’t know if this is common and likely is less common than lights above the sink. Perhaps the focus would be on kitchen redesigns or new installations. I am sure there is market potential there.

What is the advantage to robo hands? Well, on top of washing dishes, if they were mounted on a track, they could move around the kitchen and put things away or maybe even make meals. If the robot is capable of cooking and cleaning the kitchen and capable of learning when we are out of particular groceries, then it should end in the result of having delicious nutritious meals made to order, or even suggested.

But let’s get back to the dishwashing. We are using a lot of water. I do not know if we can avoid that or not. But I guess the real question is - how do we minimize as much water as possible?

Work in progress

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Software Developer always striving to be better. Learn from others' mistakes, learn by doing, fail fast, maximize productivity, and really think hard about good defaults. Computer developers have the power to add an entire infinite dimension with a single Int (or maybe BigInt). The least we can do with that power is be creative.