Wonderful Engineering

This New Robot Can Fold Your Clothes For You Like An Expert

We all have wished for a personal robot that could take care of the household chores for us. Well, wish no more for a robotic cleaner has been created that will soon be able to tackle all the household chores. Known as Dextrous Blue, built by scientists in Glasgow, this robot is capable of sorting and folding clothes while you sit back and relax.

It features a pair of digital eyes which can ascertain what particular item of clothing it is handling. The hands – grippers – are also capable of recognizing the texture of the garment. The grippers also feature ‘ears’ which can listen in to the sound of the fabric to calculate the weight, density and weave of the item.

It has been built at a lab in Glasgow University over a time span of 3 years. It has been named as CloPeMa (officially) which stands for Clothes Perception and Manipulation.

While talking about creating this robot, Dr. Paul Siebert said, “You try folding clothes with a pair of pliers in each hand – it’s bloody difficult.” Dr. Paul Siebert is a computer scientist and led the project. Research team is hopeful that in future, it will be able to create robots with hands that are bigger and more agile, thus imparting enhanced accuracy when it comes to folding clothes.

The present design is an autonomous prototype, which after looking at a pile of clothes will analyze and determine the description and their position. Afterwards, it will pick up the clothes and then rotate the garments. The grippers are able to feel the texture thanks to the pressure sensors that have been embedded into them. This helps the robot ascertain if its dealing with silk shirt or a pair of jeans.

Doctoral student Kevin Li Sun said, “The most difficult part was to design a fully autonomous system,’ he said. ‘To let it know when to start, and how to make the solution for the situation. And after the task has finished he will know when the task is finished.”

As of now, these prototypes can be used in factories of textile, whereas a home ready version shall be ready to hit the market in about 10 years. Fingers crossed for the time when we won’t have to fold our clothes on our own.