Panasonic has announced a $60m investment into the production of an automated laundry robot currently being developed by Japanese start-up Seven Dreamers.
The first version of the ‘Laundroid’ is capable of sorting and folding clothes; leveraging artificial intelligence and image recognition technology to differentiate between different types of clothing and identify which member of the family each item belongs to. The machine does take its time however, currently taking 10 minutes to fold a single shirt.
The average person will spend 9,000 hours folding clothes during their lifetime
While clearly still at a formative stage, the robot will certainly be an exciting prospect for those who hate the toil and monotony of housework. According to the Japanese firm, the average person will spend 9,000 hours – or 375 days – folding clothes during their lifetime. Despite mainly being aimed at households, the robot is likely to have a wider appeal, with the retail and hospitality industries sure to benefit from mechanising their laundry services.
The robot is expected to reach shelves in March 2017, with the initial launch set to take place in Japan. While the price of the robot is yet to be confirmed, the complexity of the technology suggests that early models will not come cheap. This being said, even washing machines and dishwashers were once far beyond the stretches of an ordinary household budget, so the potential of the ‘Laundroid’ should not be dismissed.
Looking forward, Panasonic are looking to be involved in the development of an ‘all in one’ device capable of washing and drying clothes before subsequently sorting and folding them. According to the BBC, Panasonic are only funding 10 percent of the project, but are providing the expertise for the ‘all in one’ device – which is scheduled for release in 2019.