Why is doing laundry always so tedious? Maybe because it takes forever. We spend an average of 18,000 hours of our lives on laundry, and just over one year (375 days) just folding clothes. These stats come courtesy of the marketing materials for the Laundroid, an automatic laundry folding robot, of course... because they have an automatic folding machine to sell. But also, you had us at laundry folding robot.
It's been teased for years, but a working version of the Laundroid clothes-folding robot was on the Consumer Electronics Show floor this year, and the crowds perpetually gathered around the booth prove the intense interest we all must have in eliminating the dreaded laundry task.
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How it Works
Resembling a mirrored PAX wardrobe more than a sci-fi movie robot, Laundroid has a deep bottom drawer that you simply toss your clean clothes into. A mechanical arm embedded in the backing of the closet then sorts, folds, and stacks your clothing on the appropriate shelf. You set preferences for how you want your clothes organized in the companion app, then Laundroid uses image analysis to identify your clothing and fold and sort it appropriately.
All this behind-the-scenes technology amounts to exactly the workflow we've all dreamed of: A pile of clothes go in, and folded laundry magically shows up on the shelves.
But It's Not for Everyone, Yet
All this sounds great until you inquire about the price of Laundroid. Getting a year of your life back will run you approximately $17,000 on the current laundry robot market.
The robot is also painstakingly slow in its current iteration. Laundroid would need to run overnight to be practical for your daily routine, and although it seemed super quiet, the CES show floor isn't a great reference point for how noisy it would operate in your home.
But the problem Laundroid is trying to solve is a real one, and the technology for it is here. Which means it may not be long before that IKEA PAX wardrobe comes with an after-market kit for auto-folding.