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“Foldy”, Keio University’s laundry-folding robot

Foldy-1Professor Masahiko Inami and his team at Keio University have developed a small robot that follows a user’s instructions to fold laundry.  A ceiling-mounted camera keeps track of the robot’s position and the clothing, while a human operator inputs commands via a PC interface.  If a user attempts an illegal command, the GUI flashes red.  Instructions can be stored and replayed so that a variety of clothing, from t-shirts to pants, can be folded automatically – and naturally this data can be shared among users.

Foldy-2Due to Foldy’s small size and relatively inexpensive components, it could serve as an excellent educational tool.  Inami Laboratory is focused on developing a variety of interfaces so that humans can more naturally interact with computers, virtual reality, and robotics.  The Foldy project is part of JST ERATO’s Igarashi Design Interface Project:

Robotics technologies significantly advanced recently and it is foreseeable that robots leave factory and enter home environment. The goal here is to help people to give high-level directions to such home robots. Traditionally, only expert programmers can design high-level robot behavior and end users are provided with very limited control such as giving simple commands. Our goal is to allow end users to specify more sophisticated action (“program”) to a robot by providing visual, demonstration-based interfaces. This makes it possible to have home robots support our life more effectively and intelligently.

Foldy-PCinterface

[source: Robonable] & video: [Youtube]

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