Not Impossible Now's Valerio Viale spoke with Dolfi founder Lena Solis about her miniature, energy-saving, laundry-washing tribute to dolphins (which raised about $700k on Indiegogo)
Growing up, I often stained a brand new item of clothing (usually within minutes of it leaving the store). In those moments, my frustrations (and those of my mother) hit the roof. The constant soaking, washing, wearing, staining, soaking, washing took its toll on my favorites, too.
About 30 years too late for me, but just in time for the water conscious next-generation, the newly-developed Dolfi has been designed to effortlessly preserve clothes’ "brand new" look utilizing just the power of ultrasound
That's right, the power of ultrasound employed by the device is able to thoroughly clean your delicate garments from inside out without damaging or discoloring the fabric. Here's a picture of it sitting alongside one such delicate garment:
You’re probably wondering how this tech marvel works. Well, to satisfy your scientific curiosities:
Dolfi’s powerful multi-frequency transducer – basically, a device that converts alternating current into ultrasound (and reverse) - creates precisely modulated sound waves, which propagate through water, creating microscopic high-pressure bubbles. The bubbles implode, generating tons of micro-jet liquid streams, which safely wash away every particle of dirt from the fabric.
Actually, it's fine if you don't, as the pool of engineers who developed Dolfi’s innovative technological solution for textile washing came from MPI Ultrasonics – a Swiss company with over 25 years of experience in ultrasonic technology.
Other pros of Dolfi are the following:
1) It consumes about 80 times less energy than a conventional washing machine, reducing both environmental and financial costs;
2) Dolfi is silent when operating, so it can safely be used after hours;
3) It’s completely all right to go out and leave the Dolfi on beyond the standard cycle. Matter of fact, it might even improve the washing results.
As for Dolfi’s name?
It is a tribute to dolphins, which not only are the most refined users of ultrasound, but also one of the most intelligent animals on earth.
So, nature lovers have something else to get excited about: the company has allotted a portion of the funds raised toward dolphin research and welfare.
We caught up with Dolfi creator Lena Solis just as the crowdfunding sum raised exceeded 300% of its original ask
NIN: Please introduce yourself and your project for our Not Impossible Community?
Lena Solis: My name is Lena Solis and I’m the founder of a startup company called Dolfi. The latter recently introduced its first product - an elegant, compact, hi-tech device that cleans clothing with the power of ultrasonic technology. Our team is passionate about redefining amazing ultrasonic technology for consumer products. [Ed note: Nice soundbite, Lena!]
NIN: Where did the idea come from?
LS: As with many product ideas, I came up with this out of my own personal needs. I’ve been traveling a lot, with the necessity to do laundry on the go.
After a few terrible experiences with local laundries and absolutely hating hand-washing, I started to look for a solution. I knew of ultrasound’s great cleaning capabilities, so I decided to investigate it more extensively, by visiting laboratories across Germany and Switzerland.
NIN: Has there been a moment that’s meant the most to you on the journey thus far (with the product/your work)?
LS: I was impressed by the versatile applications of ultrasound, and I couldn’t believe that no one was developing consumer products. The decades-old technology is able to cut and weld materials, extract and homogenize substances, even purify water.
However, every engineer I met, was content with working on lucrative industrial and medical projects and had little interest in creating new consumer products.
That was the moment I decided to bring this tech to consumers, and Dolfi was born.
NIN: Did you get support for the Dolfi relatively quickly, or did you have to beg, borrow, (even steal) to ensure the prototype got made and tested?
LS: It wasn’t anything dramatic. Indeed, it took much more money, time and efforts to develop the prototype, but we made it happen despite the challenges.
Later on, during the crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, Dolfi exceeded its funding goal by more than 400%, raising (at close) approximate $700,000.
LS: We were overwhelmed by the amazing response, which was highly rewarding after all our efforts and sleepless nights.
Thanks to those funds and the support from thousands of people who enjoy the products that we’re developing, we’re going into mass production soon.
NIN: What's the next step for you/your product?
LS: We’ve got a lot of plans. We’re continuing to improve our first device by introducing new features.
We also have some ideas for a few new interesting products. Our company is on the mission to bring ultrasonic technology to consumers by creating stylish, high-performing, environmentally-friendly and easy-to-use products.
We’re planning to start with new developments at the end of 2015, after we initiate the mass production for our first Dolfi device. So stay tuned for our updates.
NIN: If you could tackle anything – any issue, any disease, any disaster, any condition – what would it be?
LS: If aggression as a behavioral practice – meaning, how we respond in certain ways to certain stimuli - would not be known by humans genetically, our world would be a lot different and way better than it is now.
So if I could tackle anything, I would “block” the aggression from humans' genetic memory. People would build schools, not weapons.
NIN: What devices or other instruments out there have you seen or heard about that blew you away?
Besides those, I’m totally amazed by this fantastic project, which uses innovative solar panels, http://www.solarroadways.com/intro.shtml
For more on the progress of Dolfi, visit the company's site athttp://www.dolfi.co/