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Automate washing clothes with the Laundroid

laundryrobot1

Hate doing laundry? Very soon this task could be automated. In a recent article published by Bloomberg (written by Yuji Nakamura & Hiroyuki Nakagawa), a Japanese company has created a “laundry robot” called the Laundroid.

laundryrobot31According to the Bloomberg article (here is an excerpt): Shin Sakane, head of Seven Dreamers Laboratories Inc, received 6 billion yen ($53 million) from partners, including Panasonic Corp., last month to advance “the Laundroid” — a robot Sakane is developing to not only wash and dry garments, but also sort, fold and neatly arrange them. The refrigerator-size device could eventually fill the roles of washing machine, dryer and clothes drawer in people’s homes. Sakane (aged 45), whose earlier inventions include an anti-snoring device and golf clubs made of space materials, said the funding will bring closer his dream of liberating humanity from laundry.

Sakane wouldn’t disclose how Laundroid works, but patents show that users dump clothes in a lower drawer and robotic arms grab each item as scanners look for features such as buttons or a collar. Once identified, the clothes are folded using sliding plates and neatly stacked on upper shelves for collection. The goal is to eventually get the price of the full version to less than about JPY300,000.laundryrobot2

Users will still have to do some tasks, such as partially buttoning shirts, ensuring clothes aren’t inside out, and bunching socks before putting them inside the machine. That’s because even the best machine-learning applications can’t figure out how to fold a pair of socks. At the moment, each item takes about 10 minutes to fold, which Sakane attributed to the time necessary to scan each part of the clothing and communicate via Wi-Fi with a central server. He is working to get it down to 3-to-5 minutes, but said the robot was designed to be used passively while users are doing something else or out of the house.

Photo credits: Akio Kon, Bloomberg

For the entire Bloomberg article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-01/robot-inspired-by-a-space-odyssey-will-relieve-you-of-laundry

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