Comfort is on the Horizon

Hybrid Appliances Aim to Solve Energy Crisis

Hybrid Appliances Aim to Solve Energy Crisis

Have you seen the new horror/science fiction movie Splice in which scientists combine the DNA of different animals to create incredible new hybrid animals? It’s pretty scary stuff…especially when they start splicing together the genes of animals and humans. But outside of Hollywood, there are some other kinds of “genetic engineering” taking place that could have a major and beneficial impact in your home in the coming years

There’s a new movement quietly gaining momentum as we search for ways to reduce our energy dependence, improve our environmental outlook, and save money on rising utility costs. Part innovation and part science fiction, the technology of hybrid appliances is fast taking the scientific world by storm. Here are some of the unusual and novel appliance and fixture combinations you may see in your home some day soon.

The Washing Machine Toilet:

At first, putting a washing machine together with a toilet sounds downright unsanitary. But upon closer examination, the idea is fairly brilliant. The washing machine does a load of laundry as usual, but then stores the waste water from the rinse cycle and uses it to flush the toilet when it’s needed. Using dirty water to get rid of…well…dirty water just kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? Users will cut down on water consumption while solving another common household problem: limited space. By combining a bulky appliance that normally takes up a lot of space with a necessity already found in every single home and apartment in the country, the washing machine toilet could prove a god-send to those in a serious space-crunch.

Developed by a Turkish engineer, the washing machine toilet was recently entered in the Greener Gadgets design competition. Though it’s still in conceptual development, this hybrid appliance could revolutionize the way we do our laundry and our “business.”

The Toilet Sink:

If it’s good enough to get set up with the washing machine, why not pair the toilet with the sink, too? The toilet sink is meant to be another space-saver and reduces water consumption, too.

How does it work? The water in the toilet tank and bowl combine with gravity to flush waste. Fresh water then flows into each receptacle. With the sink feature, this fresh water can be diverted to the tap where it flows out just like a normal sink. The water that drains from the sink then flows back into the toilet bowl where it stays until the toilet is flushed again. So you’re always washing your hands with fresh water, but you may be flushing the toilet with grey water on occasion.

The downside of this neat little device is that you’d have to lean directly over the toilet seat to use the sink, so just be sure to keep the bowl clean!

The Tanning Shower:

It’s every prom queen’s dream: a shower that gives you a tan while you lather, rinse, and repeat.

Made by ProSun International, the SunShower was first introduced in 2006 when it won an award for best bath product at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.

According to ProSun, the tanning shower emits a balanced, gentle UV light spectrum that’s similar to natural sunlight. It allows the user to tan just a little bit with each shower, rather than experience the UVA and UVB bombardment of one 10 or 15 minute session in a traditional tanning booth. Supposedly, this gradual tanning is easier on the body.

While there’s as yet no proof that these claims are true, tanning enthusiasts are already snapping up these powder room novelties.