What is the use? Overview of clothes folding robots
Especially for those who do not like to gently fold clothes after washing, two companies - Seven Dreamers and FoldiMate - created robots that do it themselves. One - for wealthy citizens, the other - for those who do not want to spend too much. We will understand how they work, what technologies they use and how practical they are.
Laundroid is a robotic closet that, according to the developers, can independently fold and distribute clothing on shelves. The robot was developed jointly by three companies: Seven Dreamers Laboratories, Panasonic Corporation and Daiwa House Industry.
Laundroid was first shown in October 2015 at CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) in Japan.
How it works
The robotic cabinet has a special compartment where you can just throw clothes, and the robot will then decompose them. But already at this stage there are limitations: the manufacturer claims that the robot will not cope with socks, but please, troles, shirts, t-shirts and pants. As it turns out later, the robot does not do well with black things, and clothes made of silk are not foldable at all.
Robotic control is not the most understandable. At the intuitive level, it will be relatively difficult to understand.
In the center of the cabinet there is a washer that is responsible for management. To start working with him, you need to click on the puck - after that the compartment for laying the clothes will open. Imagining the dial of the clock, you need to move the puck to 7 hours (why it is not clear at 7) - in this case the Roof cabinet will start to fold things. When he finishes, the puck will automatically move for 12 hours, signaling the completion of sorting. And the cabinet will open only in the event that the washer will be on 12 - it can be moved there manually.
To close the cabinet, the puck must be turned for 3 hours.
The roboscap does not work quickly: at presentations, he folds one T-shirt in about ten minutes. But these are only specially prepared T-shirts - it may well be that in some way the developers cheated. According to assurances from the same presentations, the robotic cabinet will sort the filled storage compartment in one night - well, or in one day, if you fold the clothes there in the afternoon. In one such cycle, he copes with 30 items of clothing.
According to the manufacturers, the roboscaph can sort things not only by type, but also by affiliation to one or another family member, putting them into separate shelves.
As it should be, Laundroid has an application for mobile devices. Through it you can watch what clothes are on the shelves in the closet. It also notifies the user of the status of the work and stores the history of operations.
According to the developers, Laundroid uses image recognition technology and AI technology.
First, thanks to image recognition, the robot determines the state of affairs in the laundry compartment, and determines the point at which the robotic arm will grab clothes.
Next, the robot will have to deploy clothes through the same image recognition technology. So it looks like the eyes of the camera inside the robot.
Robotic hands enter the case inside the cabinet (how many of them are not known for certain). They unfold the clothes, and the AI constantly monitors the shape of the captured laundry.
When clothes are deployed, the clothes are recognized. The artificial intelligence of the robot is trained by deep learning methods based on 256 thousand downloaded photos of clothes. At one of the presentations, a representative of the company said that the recognition of clothing is 95% successful.
After recognizing the type of clothing Laundroid proceeds to fold. The same image recognition system determines which points the robotic arm will grab to fold the clothes. At a minimum, she needs to find out how long the clothes are and where the collar is. In this case, the recognition of clothing takes place in three planes in order to obtain a three-dimensional image.
It should be noted that the "brain center", that is, the AI processing images, is not inside the robot. The cabinet itself is an IoT device that sends data to a remote server that processes it.
Why do you need it
At the presentation of the robot, a company representative said that their experts conducted one very interesting study. They found out (how it was not specified) that a person spends an average of 9,000 hours in his life or 375 days for folding and sorting clothes after washing.
According to the company, Laundriod saves a whole year of life for more important things than sorting clothes.
But there are a few dubious points:
- device costs $ 16,000;
- the device does not iron clothes, but only folds it. What is the point of folding, if the shirt / pants / shirt remains wrinkled and in the folds - a mystery;
- the device will not cope with non-standard clothing, socks and other small wardrobe items;
- you still need to unload the washing machine and dry your clothes;
- the device copes with a maximum of 30 items of clothing - will have to be considered;
- the device does not cope with silk, black clothes and clothes of very large size (or items of bed linen).
What is stated that done?
At CEATEC in 2015, it was announced that the release of the robotic cabinet will take place in 2017. And in November 2017, the developers reported that the release was postponed until the second half of next year, because “today the prototype is having difficulty folding things of silk or hard denim.
By the way, back in 2015, it was announced that in five years the company would make an option for the house: with a built-in washer and dryer, so as not to have to waste time even getting things out of the drum. Obviously, the release of this version is also postponed.
And at one of the presentations, the journalist asked the robot to fold his T-shirt, and not specially prepared. Laundroid did not cope with the task.
It is also unclear who will buy this robot - that is, who is the target audience? With the price of $ 16,000, it is clear that these are wealthy citizens. But those who can afford it, rather, will hire a maid, who not only folds things, but also iron them, prepare the necessary things for the next day and bring them to you personally.
As a result, the company has an unfinished robot that can not cope with a number of tasks. The benefits of it are dubious, not to mention the high cost. Over the years of development, the robot seems to have changed only the exterior design - it has become prettier and is now available in several versions.
Another robot that folds clothes instead of humans is FoldiMate. Created by the eponymous start-up company in 2012. In 2013, she tried to raise funds for Kickstarter, but the crowdfunding was not very successful: out of the required $ 250,000, $ 11,818 was raised. The
robot looks like a rectangular, nightstand device.
How it works The
early version of FoldiMate was equipped with rows of clothespins, for which up to 13 items of clothing could be hooked (in other versions, up to 20 items). Items were placed inside the device where they were automatically folded.
It was necessary only to press the start button - everything else was done by the robot. An external display shows when folded clothes can be picked up.
The modern version of the robot has become more cumbersome and less functional. Clothespins are no more. Rather, there is only one pair left in a single receiver for clothes.
Before starting work, it is now necessary to click on one of the four buttons, indicating to the robot which item of clothing you intend to put in it: pants, towel, short-sleeved T-shirt or long-sleeved shirt.
Then you need to insert clothes into special holders and wait until they come back for a new item. Folded items are added to the bottom of the receiver.
The device has no cameras, it does not use the technology of deep learning and image recognition. The developers have created several universal algorithms for the movements of the internal parts of the robot, so that they fit the greatest amount of clothing of the same type.
Inside are metal plates and rods. Clothes fall on them and they move in a given direction, folding the object.
In the original version of the device there was a steamer and a fragrance dispenser so that the clothes smelled well. In the modern version they are not.
It looked like a prototype device.
Why it is necessary The
original version of FoldiMate still somehow helped in the household: it was possible to hook on his clothes and go about his business, leaving him to work. He would steam out the clothes and fold them. This, albeit to a small extent, would save time, and would also eliminate the lack of ironing.
Now this is a big device (125x60x70 cm), which does not save time at all. Before him you need to stand and cling things one by one. And for the time until the clothespins come back, it would be quite possible to fold the thing yourself.
Again, there are questionable points:
- the robot will not cope with too large or too small things;
- the robot will cope only with pants, shorts, t-shirts, shirts and towels;
- the robot does not work fast;
- clothes may be damaged if caught on the inside of the robot;
- the robot does not iron the clothes.
Its advantages can be attributed to the relative availability - its price today is $ 980. True, the manufacturer reserves the right to change the cost to the release date.
What is stated that done?
In 2014, after finalizing the prototype, FoldiMate announced quite feasible plans to begin selling the robot in 2018 at a price of $ 700-850. The device could work with several things at once, douse them with steam, put them together and refresh them with eau de parfum.
Now the manufacturer has created a large cabinet with a single compartment for receiving clothes on one item and informed that there will be neither steam nor fragrance in it. And the launch is postponed until the end of 2019. And the first devices will fall into the hands of the owners only in the USA. How many users in other countries will have to wait is unknown. Plus, the price has grown - up to $ 980. It is believed that the first version of the robot looked much preferable.
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