Panasonic is set to invest millions of dollars in a robot that will fold your clothes for you, apparently.
The Japanese tech giant plans to pour $60 million (£48m) into local startup Seven Dreamers, which has been working on its laundry-tidying Laundroid robot for a decade. It’s finally expected to go on sale next year, according to the Telegraph, although pricing has yet to be confirmed.
“Laundroid is not another ordinary household electronic,” reads the Seven Dreamers website. “It is a new revolutionary lifestyle-changing robot that gives the user a new value of services.”
It continues: “No more laundry lying in the living room that needs folding. Change to comfortable, free, and clean space.”
Laundroid is said to be about the size of a fridge-freezer, and takes about 10 hours to fold and sort your laundry. That means you should be able to wash and dry your clothes and have them sorted in well under 24 hours, if you time it right. Seven Dreamers suggests putting a wash-dry cycle on at 23:00, then putting your dried clothes into the Laundroid at 08:00 the next day, ready for 18:00 removal.
To achieve optimum folding performance, Seven Dreamers has kitted out the Laundroid with image analysis and a built-in AI. Data from the machine will be sent to the Seven Dreamers server (privacy panic: activated), which will then be used to help the folding AI “learn and improve its performance”.
The AI will use its sensors to analyse and identify items of clothing, and then use the knowledge it has accumulated over time to find the most suitable folding style. It can even sort clothing into different modes, including "By item", which would separate towels, T-shirts, and trousers, as well as "By family members" – although how this would work isn’t actually explained on the website. You’ll be able to use a smartphone app to control the Laundroid, too.
There’s no way to buy a Laundroid just yet, but you can register your interest on the Seven Dreamers website. However, we’d always recommend erring on the side of caution when investing in new and seemingly miraculous technology. It’s worth waiting for this product to actually launch and see if it lives up to its bold claims before shelling out on a black box that may not even function correctly.
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