Space & Innovation

Laundry-Folding Robot Does Dirty Work In Seconds

Super lazy or super brilliant? FoldiMate wants to be everybody's laundry-folding friend.

Laundry experts with masterful folding techniques make it all look so easy while the rest of us either learned to live with uneven edges or just get dressed straight out of the clean clothes bin.

In a move that's either a sign of supreme laziness or a brilliant invention, the FoldiMate robotic laundry folding machine promises to take this annoying work off our hands.

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The machine can fold and treat almost anything, from shirts and pants to towels, according to the FoldiMate website. Capsules for sanitizing, softening or perfume will be optional. The specs say it can fold an item in under 10 seconds, and do treatments like de-wrinkling in 20 to 30 seconds.

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FoldiMate looks sort of like a large printer, only to get started you clip separate laundry pieces into a rotating rack. Once inside, robotic arms mechanically fold the item before unloading the magically folded piece on a tray. The innards can also apply pre-set treatments to steam out wrinkles or make a shirt just smell better.

"Anyone in your family can do it," the company says. "Finish a laundry load two times faster than manually folding." The bot is designed to fit on top of a washer, dryer or table. FoldiMate will also be internet-enabled, meaning users can select from different folding methods on the company's online store.

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When the machine is available for pre-order next year, the cost is expected to be in the $700 to $850 range. Adding steam functionality will costs another $200 to $300. The company site says the first units should ship by 2018.

The only things the robotic machine won't be able to handle: Really large items like linens or super-small ones like underwear and socks. You're still on the hook for those.

Apparently a lot of people really, really don't want to fold their own laundry because the FoldiMate site had well over 50,000 registered users at last count.

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Back when I lived in Manhattan, the tiny local laundromat cleaned and folded all my stuff for a ridiculously low price. I still don't know how they got those fitted sheets folded so neatly and with such sharp corners. Maybe that will be a feature in FoldiMate 2.0.

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