German technology giant Bosch is mostly known for making home appliances. And at IFA 2017, the company is showing off a concept that it hopes can add a new dimension to those products. The X-Spect is a portable device that detects fabric composition, scans stains and figures out what your food is composed of. As pictured above, it looks a lot like a TV remote, and it features a tiny screen and capacitive touch buttons that let you browse through menus. Right now, Bosch is demoing the X-Spect, which weighs a mere 200 grams (less than half a pound) alongside one of its WiFi washers to deliver “optimal” cycle recommendations.
For instance, if you scan a wool sweater, it takes the scanner only a couple of seconds to identify the item. All you have to do next is click “OK” to send that information to your nearby washer, which will automatically suggest that you wash your garment at a certain temperature and with a specific number of spins. The idea, of course, is that the X-Spect is able to make your washing smarter, helping you take better care of your clothes. With stains, on the other hand, the scanner analyzes whatever you may have gotten on your shirt or pants, like whether it’s cosmetics or something entirely gross.
In the future, Bosch says, the X-Spect will also be able to scan foods, which may come in handy during those times when you’re trying to find out if your fruits or vegetables are ripe. Or if you could pair it with a smart oven, and as soon as you scanned a pizza, it would start the preheating process. Bosch could even make the X-Spect open-source, so it wouldn’t just work with its own products but others from more appliance makers as well.
Naturally, its success will likely depend on how much it’ll cost. Bosch isn’t discussing those details at the moment, but the company did say that to take the X-Spect beyond a concept and launch it “soon.”