Newlyweds in the future won’t just ask for silverware or a Roomba, they’ll ask for a personal laundry-folding robot. By the end of 2017, there will already be a few options, from a mechanical folder to a high-brow artificial intelligence-powered device.
The real question at hand is whether we hate folding laundry enough that we will pay for a robot to do it for us, even if it’s a robot that requires input or a lot of time to figure out how to fold a pair of jeans, The New York Times reported recently. A lot of folding hatred might drive you to drop $16,000 to get the A.I.-folding Laundroid, and general annoyance might drive the purchase of a faster and cheaper FoldiMate.
The FoldiMate laundry-folding robot folds like this: You start by clipping in your clothes to the little arms that stick out of the machine, and then uses those clips to pull the clothes into itself in the correct orientation to fold. About 20 pieces of clothing will take only a few minutes to fold, Gal Rozov, an inventor of FoldiMate, told the Times.
The Laundroid looks like a giant dresser that you stuff your clothes into the top. Then it uses little robotic arms to pick up each piece of clothing, figures out what it is with some sort of artificial intelligence, and then folds it. Folding 30 pieces of laundry can take an entire day as the A.I. examines each item to correctly orient it and determining how to fold it. But as all Laundroids are connected via wifi, the collective will get faster at identifying and folding specific kinds of clothes.
The FoldiMate will only cost $850 and will start accepting pre-orders later in 2017. Despite its high initial price, the Laundroid will probably cost about $2,000 when it goes on the international market in 2018. And in the end, when the robot takeover happens, it probably won’t start with your car or your cell phone. It will be with an army of laundry folding robots that have been using a hive mind to figure out how to best fold our rompers and dress shirts.