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OM in the News: What’s Next–A Robot That Folds Your Laundry?

May 27, 2017

Why am I not surprised that the Start Up Nation (title of a great book about Israel’s inventions), which brought us Mobileye, the Pill Cam, the Intel 8088, Waze, USB flash drives, Viber, drip irrigation, and the cherry tomato, now brings FoldiMate. After all, cars can now drive themselves. Cellphones talk to us. How long will it be until the dreams of every college student and overworked parent come true — and laundry can fold itself?

FoldiMate is about two-thirds the size of a washer or dryer. The user simply hangs or clips the shoulder area of the shirt on 2 hooks and steps back. The device pulls the shirt in. A series of rollers and arms that also move up-down-sideways straighten and fold the item of clothing. A typical laundry hamper of clothes can be folded in about 3 minutes. Laundry is deposited in a tray at the base of the machine.

 FoldiMate works by analyzing each garment it takes in, figuring out its ideal folding shape and delivering a drawer-ready stack of smoothly folded clothes. It look like a mash-up of a clothesline and a plastic oven, writes The New York Times (May 25, 2017).

“The whole idea is to have the experience of handing items over to a friend, who will do that hard labor for you,” says Gal Rozov, the inventor. “My wife claims I’m one of the worst laundry folders in the world, and she’s right. I hate it. We have 3 kids, and laundry folding is tedious, and I wanted some way to help out.”

Via a crowdfunding campaign on its website, FoldiMate has taken in about 8,000 deposits of $85. The company aims to start deliveries of the $850 product next year.

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. What other famous inventions have come out of Israel?
  2. Will this product eventually be like the bread machine–an off gifted but rarely used appliance?

 

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