Appliance manufacturer Miele has introduced a new model of washing machine designed especially for use by the visually impaired.
The WDD131 WPS GuideLine washing machine includes tactile markings, raised lines and symbols across its fascia to guide users through its range of settings. A large rotary dial displays 12 individual wash programmes which are indicated by clear dots.
The machine also makes use of acoustic indications - each programme selection and setting is accompanied by a specific signal for smooth operation. Turn the dial to select a program and the unit will sound, turning on automatically. When a wash cycle has finished the machine will audibly alert users to remove their clothes.
In addition, each unit also comes with a USB stick containing an audio user manual in the widely recognised DAISY format for maximum usability.
Aside from its accessibility features, the machine is rated A+++ -10% for energy efficiency and features Miele’s exclusive CapDosing technology, which dispenses the exact amount of specialist detergents for each wash.
According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), more than two million people in the UK are blind or partially-sighted.
RNIB Senior Innovation Manager, Robin Spinks said: 'It’s fantastic that Miele has introduced the first truly accessible washing machine specifically developed for blind and partially sighted people.
'Our Innovation Team works internationally with consumer brands to facilitate the development of inclusive products and we applaud Miele for recognising the needs of our community. We’re very excited about the potential of this product and the changes it might bring to the industry going forward.'