If you’re trying to come up with an idea for a new product to make, one suggestion is to focus on things that people hate to do, and make them easier to do or make something to do it for them. That’s exactly what one company has done with FoldiMate, the clothes-folding robot.
FoldiMate has a panel with clips on both sides. You clip the laundry items to the FoldiMate and, when you’ve clipped all the machine can hold, you start the folding process. The company estimates it takes three seconds to clip a laundry item and at least 10 seconds for the machine to fold it. It can’t fold really large items, such as linens, or really small items, such as socks. You can also have the robot steam your clothes to eliminate wrinkles and spray softener or a scent on the clothes as it folds them.
FoldiMate won a CES Innovation Award at the 2017 Computer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It also won a Tech Award for Eye-Catching Product of CES 2017 from the Dutch Tech Press.
But, if you’re ready to get your own, you’re going to have to wait. While you can pre-order FoldiMate, it probably won’t be available until the end of 2018. As of January 2017, the team was on its fifth prototype which can clip and stack, but can only fold specific shirts and pillowcases. The target price is expected to be between $700 and $850, and the robot will be about the size of a washing machine or dryer.