Thin, light weight soft-body objects present an interesting challenge for robots to manipulate, and while we’ve seen laundry-folding robots before, Foldy was a specialized robot built specifically to do that. Unless you have an army of specialized robots for every task, you’ll always be limited by what they can do. Now Willow Garage’s PR2 is being taught how to fold your laundry, and is a much more ideal platform for the task. Admittedly, Assistant Professor Pieter Abbeel at UC Berkeley is starting with something relatively easy (towels instead of dress shirts), and with a flat background, but this kind of cloth manipulation isn’t ever really easy for robots. Ideally we will all have a humanoid robot that can do multiple household tasks for us when we’re old and have better things to do, like feeding the ducks by the pond, and you have to start somewhere.
I love how the PR2 appears mesmerized by the towel as it holds it, twisting and turning it for its cameras. Good job, buddy! Hit the source link for the paper.