Panasonic Invests $60M in Laundry-Folding Robot

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Children and robots are our future—which is probably why Panasonic recently invested $60 million in the world's first laundry-folding bot.

From Japan-based Seven Dreamers, Laundroid uses image-recognition algorithms and tech to identify types of clothing (T-shirts, towels, pants, etc.), fold each one appropriately, and sort them by item or family member.

About the size of a refrigerator, the machine features a pull-out drawer at the bottom where users deposit crumpled-but-clean clothes. Laundroid currently takes up to 10 minutes to fold each piece of laundry. The appliance is managed via a smartphone app or built-in controls.

The process isn't quick, and sometimes it's not perfectly neat, but it does save time and effort that can be spent on other things, like working, being with family and friends, or sleeping.

"Laundroid is not another ordinary household electronic [device]," the company's website states. "It is a new revolutionary, lifestyle-changing robot that gives the user a new value of services."

After a decade of development, Seven Dreamers brought its prototype to January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas; a working Laundroid model is expected at the 2017 event.

The company, meanwhile, has a deal to include the machine with Panasonic washers and dryers in 2018, and may build it into new homes in Japan by 2020.

The luxury product, Seven Dreamers CEO Shin Sakane said in January, will eventually reach the US. He did not provide a launch date or price, but suggested to PCMag that it will initially be marketed toward people who can already afford staff to fold their laundry.

More details—including how to pre-order Laundroid—are expected early next year.

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