Asia Minute: In Japan, Robots Can Now Fold Laundry

Oct 12, 2015

Credit Pixabay Commons

Japan’s largest annual information technology and electronics trade show just wrapped up this weekend outside Tokyo. Of all the gadgets and demonstrations and working models that were on display, there was one in particular that captured the imagination of the crowds….and the attention of the media. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Robots are no strangers to the workforce.  They’ve been part of auto assembly lines for decades—and space travel for years.  The first robot vacuum cleaner was introduced in 2001.  There are now robotic pets, companions for the elderly - even robot valets.  But get a robot to do your laundry and fold it --and the consumer world may beat a path to your door.

At least that’s the hope of a trio of Japanese companies, which have combined forces to create “Laundroid.”  There are a couple of huge corporate players involved: Japan’s largest homebuilder, Daiwa House…and electronics giant Panasonic.  Rounding out the group is a technology company called “Seven Dreamers.”

The Laundroid made its public debut late last week at Japan’s clunky-sounding annual tech trade show called the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies.  The machine can fold dress shirts, t-shirts, underwear, skirts, shorts, towels - but they’re still perfecting the folding of socks.  The process does take a bit of time---seven hours to fold an entire load of laundry…the idea is to put it to work overnight.  They’re still perfecting the laundroid - an updated consumer model is expected to hit the market in 2019.