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讀紐時學英文
2017/06/16 第176期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
 
 
紐時周報精選 Take a Load Off. The Robots That Fold Laundry Are Coming像個箱子! 摺衣機器人年底問世
Part Office Building,Part Homeless Shelter亞馬遜新大樓 內建遊民收容所
紐時周報精選
 
Take a Load Off. The Robots That Fold Laundry Are Coming像個箱子! 摺衣機器人年底問世
文/Allen Salkin
Cars can now drive themselves. Cellphones talk to us. How long will it be until the dreams of every college student and overworked parent come true — and laundry can fold itself?

At least two companies are promising to bring laundry-folding robots for the home to market by the end of 2017. Known as Laundroid and FoldiMate, both machines work by analyzing each garment they take in, figuring out its ideal folding shape and delivering a drawer-ready stack of smoothly folded clothes.

汽車現在會自駕。手機可以對我們說話。每個大學生和過勞父母的美夢─洗淨的衣物會自動摺疊,何時才能成真?

至少有兩家公司承諾在2017年年底前讓家用型洗衣摺疊機器人問世。這兩項名為Laundroid和FoldiMate的機器,運作的方式都是分析它們收進來的每件衣服,找出理想的摺疊形狀,再送出一疊摺疊平整,可放進抽屜的衣服。

Laundroid is slightly smaller than a typical refrigerator and looks like the monolith from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” except with drawers. The robot arms are inside.

The FoldiMate, more compact, has large clips dangling outside, making it look like a mashup of a clothesline and a plastic oven.

A working prototype of Laundroid — backed by about $90 million in investment capital, including funds from George Roberts and Henry Kravis of the buyout firm KKR — is set to be publicly demonstrated at the end of this month in Tokyo. It will retail — only in Japan, at first — for about $16,000. Seven Dreamers, the company introducing Laundroid, aims to bring the cost down to $2,000 a unit and begin international sales by next year.

Laundroid比典型的冰箱略小,外表類似電影《2001:太空漫遊》中那個巨型碑石,除了它多出數個抽屜。機器手臂藏在裡面。

FoldiMate更小些,有大夾子掛在外面,使它看起來像一個晾衣繩和塑膠烤箱的混合物。

譯/王麗娟

Laundroid的一個工作原型機,預計本月底在東京公開展示,初期,將只在日本零售,每台訂價約1萬6千美元。

Laundroid約有9000萬美元投資資金撐腰,包括來自美國買斷公司KKR的喬治.羅伯茲和亨利.克拉維斯的資金。推出Laundroid的公司「七個夢想家」的目標是將成本降至每台2000美元,預計明年展開國際銷售。

Judging from the intensity of the entrepreneurship going on in the field of laundry, most people would rather watch a video of Marie Kondo, author of the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,”folding a T-shirt so well it stands on its own than to actually do it with their own hands.

There’s the iBasket, a laundry hamper that automatically washes clothes when full; EcoWasher, promising “detergent-free laundry”; and DashLocker, an app-based urban laundry service.

從洗衣界正在發生的創業強度觀察,大多數人寧可只觀賞近藤麻里繪的影片,她也是《怦然心動的人生整理魔法》一書作者,也不願以自己的雙手實際實踐一下。她把T恤折疊得太好,好到讓人覺得事不關己地步。

還有iBasket這項產品,它是個洗衣籃,衣物滿時會自動洗衣;EcoWasher則保證讓你「零洗衣精洗衣」;DashLocker是以應用程式為基礎的城市洗衣服務。

The Whirlpool Corp., owner of the Maytag brand, is also aggressively tinkering. The company plans to introduce in January an all-in-one $1,700 washer/dryer hybrid featuring a detergent reservoir that decides on the proper portion per load, squirts it into the basin unassisted and wirelessly reorders from Amazon when empty.

“There is a high level of excitement around innovating in laundry,” said Danielle Whah, Whirlpool’s North America product director for laundry.

擁有「美泰克」品牌洗衣機的惠而浦公司也在積極改進中。該公司計畫明年1月推出一款訂價1700美元,一體化的的洗衣/烘乾混合機,特點是具有一個會自動決定每次洗衣適當用量的洗衣精槽,將洗衣精射入洗衣槽,洗衣精用罄時還會以無線方式向亞馬遜叫貨。

惠而浦洗衣部門北美產品主管丹尼艾爾.華說:「一股濃濃的興奮感正圍繞著洗衣的創新。」

 
Part Office Building,Part Homeless Shelter亞馬遜新大樓 內建遊民收容所
文/Nick Wingfield
譯/王麗娟

A year ago, when Amazon let a homeless shelter for families move into a former motel it owned, it was viewed as a nice but fleeting gesture.

The motel was on a chunk of downtown property where Amazon planned to eventually erect yet another set of sparkling buildings to meet its insatiable need for office space in this city. The hotel would be torn down and the shelter kicked out when that time came.

一年前,亞馬遜公司讓一個遊民(無處可住)家庭收容所遷進該公司所有,曾為汽車旅館的一棟建築,當時被認為是好心,但僅屬暫時性的善舉。

這家汽車旅館位於市中心的一大片地產上,亞馬遜最終計畫在這塊土地上興建另一批閃閃發光的建築,以因應該公司在這個城市對辦公室空間永難滿足的需求。當重建的時刻降臨時,旅館會被拆除,收容所也會被掃地出門。

Instead, Amazon has decided to let the shelter stay. In an unusual arrangement, the company has agreed to give the shelter, Mary’s Place, a permanent home inside one of the new office buildings for which it will break ground in the fall.

Amazon will give roughly half of the six-story building to the shelter, providing it with 47,000 square feet of space with private rooms that can hold 65 families, or about 220 people and their pets. The facility, expected to open in early 2020, will have its own entrance and elevators.

然而事非如此,亞馬遜已決定讓收容所留下。在一項不尋常的安排下,該公司已同意在預定秋天動工興建的新辦公大樓中的某一棟裡,讓收容所「瑪麗之家」擁有一個永遠的家。

亞馬遜準備大約將這棟六層樓大樓的一半提供給收容所,讓收容所擁有4萬7000平方英尺地坪,計有足可容納65戶家庭,或約220人和他們的寵物的私人房間。這項設施預計2020年年初啟用,將有自己的大門和電梯。

“I see it as this huge gift because everywhere we go, we end up leaving,” said Marty Hartman, the executive director of Mary’s Place, which runs seven transitional shelters around the Seattle area meant to house families until they can find permanent homes. “You come in and become a fabric of the neighborhood you’re in, and then you say goodbye. That’s a hard thing for a lot of people to do.”

In an interview at the current Mary’s Place site owned by Amazon, which was bustling with families returning to the shelter for the evening, John Schoettler, Amazon’s vice president for global real estate and facilities, said the company would spend “tens of millions of dollars” on the design and construction of the shelter’s portion of the building. Amazon will pay the utilities for Mary’s Place, which will occupy the space rent free, although the organization will continue to pay its own staff.

「瑪麗之家」執行長馬蒂.哈特曼說:「我把它看成天大的一份禮物,因為無論我們到那堙A最終都得離開。」「瑪麗之家」在西雅圖地區經營七個中途之家性質的收容所,收容一些尚未找到固定住所的家庭。她說:「你住進來,成為你所加入鄰里的一份子,然後又得說再見。這對很多人來說是件困難的事。」

「瑪麗之家」目前所在地產權為亞馬遜所擁有,此刻正因一些家庭返回過夜而顯得頗為熱鬧,亞馬遜主管全球房地產和設施的副總裁約翰.舒特勒在此處接受訪問表示,該公司將花費「數千萬美元」設計和建造這棟建築內的收容所部分。亞馬遜將支付「瑪麗之家」的水電費、讓「瑪麗之家」免租金使用空間,不過「瑪麗之家」將繼續支付他們自己員工的薪水。

Schoettler said Amazon originally allowed the shelter to stay in the motel because of the severity of Seattle’s homelessness crisis, which had prompted the city’s mayor to declare a state of emergency in 2015. Schoettler said Amazon was impressed by Mary’s Place, and he described its plan to give the shelter a permanent home as an investment in the neighborhood.

In San Francisco, Google, Salesforce.com and others have funded a campaign to find permanent housing for homeless people. But Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a nonprofit advocacy group in Washington, D.C., said she was unaware of any other private corporation integrating a homeless shelter into its building.

舒特勒說,亞馬遜最初允許收容所搬進汽車旅館,是因西雅圖遊民危機十分嚴重。遊民危機2015年時促使西雅圖市長宣布進入緊急狀態。舒特勒說, 亞馬遜被瑪麗之家給打動了,他把亞馬遜計畫給收容所一個長久的家這件事,稱為該公司對當地社區的一項投資。

在舊金山,谷歌、Salesforce.com 和其他公司都在資助替無家可歸者尋找固定住處的一項運動。不過,華盛頓特區非營利宣導團體「終結無家可歸全國聯盟」總裁南恩.羅曼說,據她所知,沒有任何其他私人公司讓遊民收容所進住他們的大樓。

說文解字看新聞

文/王麗娟

總部位於美國西雅圖的亞馬遜是跨國電子商務(cross-border e-commerce)公司,2016年4月亞馬遜在西雅圖市中心購買了一家舊汽車旅館(motel),讓它成為「瑪麗之家」收容所的暫住之家(temporary home)。亞馬遜購買旅館,旨在擴建公司的工作園區,今秋將拆除旅館,空出土地興建數棟大樓。「瑪麗之家」僅是暫時離開,預計2020年重返其中一棟大樓,從此擁有永遠的家(permanent home)。

各企業行善作法不同,亞馬遜決定讓遊民之家(homeless shelter)整合進入(integrate)公司大樓,可能開美國先河。

 
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