Panasonic Unveils the World’s First Laundry Folding Robot

Just when the entire world concluded that folding laundry is by far one of the most unpleasant household chores, Panasonic’s Laundroid robot came to the rescue.

Showcased at the CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) 2015 trade show in Tokyo, Laundroid is the result of the combined effort of Panasonic, Seven Dreamers Laboratories, an R&D focused medical device manufacturer, and Daiwa House, Japan’s largest homebuilder. Panasonic is well-known for its electronics, and while it hasn’t shown much promise as a robotics company until now, it would very much like to demonstrate that it has potential in this department, as well.

To prove that folding laundry isn’t an easy thing to do, not even for robots, Laundroid took its sweet time during the demonstration that took place at the Cutting Edge IT & Comprehensive Exhibition being held at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Japan. Looking much like a glowing door that takes you to the other side, Panasonic’s robot is a bit of a mistery in terms of exact dimensions. However, it suffices knowing that it could be built into closets in the not-so-distant future.

The demonstration involved the spokeswoman tossing a shirt into an automated opening in the center of the illuminated door. As soon as the door closed, Laundroid started doing calculations that lasted quite a while.

Five minutes later, the door opened again, to reveal a perfectly folded shirt. Why does it take so long for a single item of clothing? Well, the robot has to identify what type of laundry you want it to fold, and it also needs to take the dimensions into account. After all, an XXL shirt and a baby’s onesie cannot be folded using the same rules, now can they? I assume that the robot has been programmed to recognize several types of clothes, and it would be interesting to know whether users could add custom types to the database.

What is that I hear you say? You could fold a shirt much faster than the Laundroid? In that case, you’re missing the entire point of this robot. It really doesn’t matter how fast it folds your laundry, as long as it does the job for you.

In the future, you could dump all of your clothes into such a robot and find everything placed nice and tidy on shelves by the time you get back from work.

There is a reason why Panasonic collaborated with a homebuilder to create Laundroid: it plans to integrate such robots in homes by 2020.

That doesn’t mean that we’ll have to wait four more years to see such a robot folding the laundry for us. A simple version is set to launch in 2016, at a yet-to-be disclosed price.

Considering that people spend 9,000 of their lives folding laundry, Panasonic’s robot could really save us all some time.

Assuming that you speak Japanese, you can take a look at the press release announcing the laundry folding robot, which is available here in PDF format.

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via CNET