Are we on the cusp of a laundry revolution? At least two companies working on laundry robots certainly think so.
FoldiMate, a Californian tech company, has created a bot that allows users to simply clip their clean washing onto hangers and return a few minutes later to a pile of neatly folded laundry, letting the mechanical arms inside the machine work their magic.
Another more advanced variant of the same concept is Laundroid, made by Japanese company Seven Dreamers in cooperation with Panasonic and Daiwa. Their long-term goal is to create a machine that can wash, dry, fold and sort laundry using image analysis to identify different types of clothes. All the user must do is bundle them in at the start.
Neither product is actually on the market yet, but FoldiMate seems closer. The company already sells a commercial version and expects to bring out domestic units in 2018, priced between 700 and 850 dollars.
The demand is at least there; more than 200,000 people have signed up to be notified when pre-orders begin.
Unfortunately for tired home-makers everywhere, it also appears that while the tech may well develop into a no-brainer for busy consumers in the future, at present there are still major issues to be ironed out.
For example, the FoldiMate has capacity only for 20 items of clothing at once and can’t handle large items such as sheets or towels.
The Laundroid is also significantly slower than a human. It requires a somewhat inefficient eight hours to sort through a clothing bundle.
Nonetheless, it’s not hard to imagine where this technology might take us in the future – perhaps to a utopia of always-clean clothes.