A startup has dreamed up a device to ease some of the burden of doing laundry.
It's called the FoldiMate, a home robot designed to fold your clean clothes all by itself with professional skill and quality results. About the size of a standard domestic washer or dryer and with a big ticket price to match ($700 to $850), the appliance will apparently grab garments within its reach, pull them inside its innards for processing, then spit out piles of smartly stacked and crisply folded clothing.
The quest for making laundry chores less onerous isn't new. Manufacturers of washing machines and clothes dryers have added special steam cycles to their products that promise to remove wrinkles (and even odors) from garments so you'll spend less time ironing. Lately, other laundry gadgets with lofty claims have come to market, such as the LG Styler and Whirlpool Swash. These machines are designed to "refresh" delicate items at home to cut down on pricey trips to the dry cleaners. And the Foldimate isn't the first folding machine we've come across. Last year at the CEATEC consumer electronics show in Tokyo, we saw a garment-folding solution called the Laundroid that managed to fold a dress shirt in about five minutes.
But companies have yet to give consumers products that can actually hold up to human performance. Steam washer and dryer cycles can smooth out wrinkled fabrics, but cannot dispel them entirely. Sadly, the Styler and Swash don't actually remove dirt from your clothes the way regular washing machines do, nor do they press as well as an old-school iron, and they are limited to tackling a few (or one) item at a time.
Unfortunately, the FoldiMate seems to have similar limitations and sounds even more complicated to use. For instance, you can't just dump mounds of apparel into the FoldiMate all at once and expect it to sort everything out. To use the FoldiMate, you must first clip individual garments such as shirts, sweaters and pants onto the horizontal racks on the front of the machine.