It sounded like a dream come true. No wonder it never happened.

 

A multi-purpose robot called Laundroid developed by Seven Dreamer, a Japanese company, was meant to function the way everyone has always dreamed up. The black obelisk was meant to be a washing machine, ironing, laundry-folding and drying robot all packaged into one. Sadly, this product will never hit shelves because the company filed for bankruptcy. They owe over 2.25 billion yen ($20.1 million USD) to 200 creditors.

 


Laundroid, the black obelisk was a robotic laundry service that could wash, dry and sort your laundry for you in a matter of hours. (Image Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

 

Laundroid was developed with 19 patented technologies that consisted of image analysis, artificial intelligence and advanced robotic technology to free humans from doing laundry. Some of the features were almost too good to be true. It included a robotic laundry management system that used image analysis to sort clothing based on a specific item such as towels, pants, shirts, etc. The product also included robotic arms that fold and sorts clothes into organized piles. Once the clothing had been picked up by the robotic arms, it would be scanned by cameras connected by Wi-Fi to a server that used artificial intelligence, and a neural network that included 256,000 images of different pieces of clothing. The arms would then come up with the best method to handle the clothing, determining how it should be folded. This would usually take a few hours to complete a whole load of laundry since it takes 5-10 minutes to fold one t-shirt.

 

The small and sleek design of the robot also allowed it to fit in any room, including the bedroom. It also came with an app that would create an online closet, categorizing each clothing it folds.  However, product demonstrations seemed to have struggled as the product couldn't fold or sort t-shirts from a pre-prepared basket.

The company had also intended on adding a voice control feature, but it wasn't meant to be compatible with Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant or any other voice control service that was offered. Instead, it would have used a desk lamp named Lumigent that responds to voice control. It worked by illuminating whenever it was being spoken to and would allow Lumigent to carry out any Laundroid tasks it was assigned.

 

The company had delayed this project many times due to increasing funds and development costs. This leaves the market open for their competitors, such as Foldimate. The company demonstrated a functioning prototype at CES in Las Vegas a few months ago, with its final version set to ship out at a later date this year.

 

 

Have a story tip? Message me at: cabe(at)element14(dot)com

http://twitter.com/Cabe_Atwell