FOLD-E! Clothes-folding robot demoed at SIGGRAPH

Who wouldn’t want one? Scatter your undies on the ground (if they’re not there already), give FOLD-E the go-ahead, and scant minutes later, there they all are, folded into packets for you. You’ll need mighty small undergarments for this little robot to do his job, though.

In reality, the bot is more a proof of concept; the robot was given instructions in graphical form rather than straight code or instructions, an alternative communication method being put forth by a group at the Japan Science and Technology Agency. The folding mechanism is really just a good way to demonstrate that.

Instead of giving the bot LOGO-like step-by-step instructions (go 20cm forward, grab cloth, move 10cm forward), the robot is programmed to interpret graphical explanations like this one:


There’s more info in this PDF, which summarizes their work. Now they just have to release a big one so my building manager will buy it for the laundry room.