Meet the robots that fold your laundry

If domestic chores are not your cup of tea, you’ll be pleased to hear that technological innovators such as those at Seven Dreamers, and other prominent science and technology companies, are working hard so you can work less.

This coming March, Seven Dreamer’s Laundroid will be available for consumers.This home robot has been programmed to eliminate the tedious task of folding laundry, and is able to fold virtually every type of garment. Looking something like a cross between a fridge and a dresser, users can place their article of clothing in the bottom drawer of the Laundroid, and it will firstly scan the item for identification, then proceed to fold it thanks to “image analysis, AI [artificial intelligence], and robotics as its core technology.”

Laundroid’s creator, Seven Dreamers, will work with Panasonic in order to have a full version of the Laundroid ready for 2019, where it will be able to wash and dry your clothes as well.

Since the Roomba, home robots are becoming more and more popular, and the Laundroid is not unique to the future of home robots. Some functions include child care, ‘static’ companionship, as well as mobile companionship. In an article on Twice.com, a consumer technology site, research director of Tractica, Aditya Kaul, says in the near future, robots “could fundamentally transform our homes and daily lives”.

Having flashbacks to I, Robot, or more recently, Westworld? Robotics companies are rigorously working towards bots with more life-like behavioural features and abilities, but are currently far from sentience as most robots are programmed to a complete a single task.

However, there are companies getting close to chatty robots like C-3PO. Cybedroïd’s Leenby and Qihan’s Sanbot are certainly reminiscent of the beloved on-screen droid, as they are able to walk and talk and interact with humans. But the real question is: Will they be able to effectively assist us with our galactic-sized to-do list?

With great power always comes great responsibility. Some worry that robot interaction will have the capacity to manipulate our feelings and behaviours. Rose Simon from Motherboard — the Science and Technology division of Viceexplains that because of humans’ innate tendency to admire robots, we are susceptible to the agenda they may be programmed to have.

For example, a person who has a humanoid home robot that they regularly interact with and eventually create some sort of relationship with, ends up revealing personal details they did not mean to share. As the robot is simply an extension of whoever created it, they could potentially have access to that information.

While all of these out-of-this-world devices are becoming more readily available to eager consumers, they may not be as accessible as we would like. The Sanbot is quoted at an ample $12,000 US. While the Laundroid’s price has not been announced, production price has exceeded expectations, resulting in an increased final market price. The time it would take a university student to save up for a machine like that, could be used to finish a degree — in theory. Better get started on that folding now!

This is The Peak’s first issue of a web news exclusive series on new science and technology around the world – new post every Friday.

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