How much would you pay to have a robot fold your laundry? California-based robotics start-up FoldiMate hopes the answer to that question is about $1,000.
FoldiMate is building a home assistant robotics machine to fold laundry. The start-up showcased a prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, but the final product will not ship until late 2019.
And it's expected to cost $980, according to the FoldiMate website.
"I started this journey seven years ago with a humble goal: to help out with laundry folding in my home. After recently trying out one of our early prototypes, my kids started fighting over who will be using FoldiMate when we'll have it in our house," says Gal Rozov, the founder and CEO, on the FoldiMate website.
The robot will fold shirts, blouses and pants from those fitting a child age five through an adult XXL, FoldiMate says. It will also fold standard towels and pillowcases. It will not fold very small items like baby clothes, socks and underwear, nor will it fold very large or bulky items like sheets or hoodies.
It will take the FoldiMate between two and four minutes to fold between 20 and 40 items, which is what the robotics company dubs an average load of laundry.
The start-up doesn't have a product yet, but it's already raised $3 million in seed funding from an undisclosed collection of investors, according to a statement published by the company in July.
Though folding laundry is a near-universally despised chore (who likes folding laundry?!), cleaning the kitchen is the chore most people would like to see a robot take care of, according to former Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt.
"When you ask a person what they would like a robot to do — the thing that they would like more than anyone else — is clean up the dishes in the kitchen," the billionaire former Google executive says speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum in November.
"That is literally the number one request. And I say this having done this exhaustively," Schmidt says.
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