LG’s Universal UP Kit is what I want to see from more tech brands

LG Universal UP Kit

Quite often, you see tech companies show off the latest and greatest tech at trade shows. Many of these devices impress with big spec sheets or nifty new features. Heading into IFA 2023, a massive tech show rivalling the likes of CES, LG will be showing off its Universal UP Kit, a series of accessories aimed at making home appliances more accessible.

Many people, whether due to disabilities or other factors like age, encounter physical barriers that can make it difficult to comfortably use home appliances. LG’s aim with its new kits is to provide solutions to these barriers. This includes accessories like detachable handles to help people use the company’s existing range of kitchen, cleaning, and laundry appliances.

To develop the Universal UP Kit range, LG worked with a diverse range of people, including those with cerebral palsy, plus individuals with hearing and vision loss. Lyu Jae-cheol, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solution Company, said that the brand worked on the accessories to “resolve pain points shared [with LG] by real consumers” and that a “convenient user experience” for everyone is the goal.

Reducing barriers – whether physical, cognitive, or anything in between – is a strong initiative that’s important for creating a more equitable society. Although the best solution would be to ensure that appliances reduce barriers out of the box without costing users extra, this is the next best thing. Plus, it’d be a whole lot cheaper than upgrading your entire range of appliances wholesale.

And it’s worth pointing out that LG isn’t the only brand working on accessible devices, it just happens to be one of the most recent examples. There’s no specific information yet about pricing or availability, so we’ll likely learn more when IFA rolls around next month.

What does the Universal UP Kit include?

Part of the range LG will display at IFA between 1-5 September 2023 is the Easy Handle Kit. Made for washing machines, it’s a series of detachable handles that eases the strain of opening and closing the appliances’ doors and detergent drawers. Plus, it comes in high-contrast colours designed to help people with low vision.

Another Universal UP Kit inclusion is the Assistant Kit, a detachable wheeled strut made for CordZero stick vacuums. Once applied, it redistributes the vacuum’s weight, making it easier to control. Additionally, there’s also the Easy Hanger Kit, a long handle made specifically to grip LG’s Styler steam closet hangers, which would be helpful for people who use wheelchairs or are short-statured.

Having the most high-tech appliances in the world doesn’t mean much if it excludes a significant segment of the population, which is where the Universal UP Kit promises to make a tangible difference. Making accommodations for specific barriers and disabilities often benefits the wider population, a phenomenon referred to as “the curb cut effect”. This is why I want to see more of these considerations made by tech companies when designing new devices.

Read more appliance news on GadgetGuy