Laundry Robot

By Deane Barker on July 11, 2011

Solving laundry at UC Berkeley: Fascinating video about a project to program a robot to do the laundry.  The biggest problem: folding clothes.

The goal of Pieter Abbeel’s group is to teach a robot to solve the laundry problem. That is, to develop a system to enable a robot to go into a home it’s never seen before, load and unload a washer and dryer, and then fold the clean clothes and put them away just like you would.

The first aspect of this problem that the group tackled was folding, which is one of those things that seems trivial to us but is very difficult for a robot to figure out since clothes are floppy, unpredictable, and often decorated with tasteless and complicated colors and patterns.

After the talking is done, there’s 90 seconds of silent footage at the end of this robot trying to fold a towel.  It is equal parts funny, sad, and inspiring.