Robots are used in all kinds of industries for a variety of tasks. Usually, because they are much faster, more accurate, and more capable than we are now. Expert humans could not compete with the steady and rapid production of robotic welding machine on the automobile production line, nor could they precisely paint chocolate on the back of Kit Kat.
However, there are some tasks in which humans still have the advantage. These include driving, clever answering, and yes, folding clothes. That doesn’t mean bots aren’t trying, though, so let’s take a look In a state of art.
folding challenges at home
Laundry automation was a game changer in home life when it first came into the mainstream. The sink and mangle gave way to the automatic washer and dryer, and the busy workers of the world rejoiced. They no longer toil for hours just to get clean clothes!
However, the next step in the process, folding, has not yet seen mainstream automation. This is largely due to the fact that folding clothes is simply a more complicated task than washing or drying. These tasks simply involve tossing a bunch of clothes into a sink, and shaking them with either soapy water or using heat. It is a batch process in which the primary control input is the RPM of a single engine.
Folding first requires separating and identifying one piece of laundry from the package. Machine vision has come a long way in the past decade, but this is still a challenging task. Additionally, clothes can get tangled up with others in a pile, further complicating the problem for the default bot folder. Towels, socks, skirts, and jeans are different and require their own special techniques for handling. Luxurious clothing with unique belts, buckles, and structures add to the challenges.
state of the art
Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have developed a robot capable of folding clothes so quickly that they dubbed the process “SpeedFolding”. He uses a robot that has “two hands” working together to fold clothes, much like we do. according to research paperThe team claims the robot can fold 30-40 pieces of clothing in an hour. This is much faster than previous robotic folding efforts, which achieved fold folds in the order of 3-6 clothes folded per hour.
The robot begins by scanning the piece of laundry to be folded with an overhead camera. It then uses a neural network trained on 4,300 different procedures to determine how to randomly make the clothes aligned in the initial state needed to fold. The robot uses various movements to achieve this, including moving the garment or parts of the garment around, flipping it around, or dragging it along the surface.
The neural network was trained in several ways, and the initial smoothing step was an essential part of the process. The robot was allowed to perform various movements independently with the specific goal of maximizing the surface area of the garment. This was a useful way to teach the robot how to put the garment in an initial, controlled state in order to fold it. Once the garment is in such a condition, the specified actions can be performed to complete the folding process. Useful technologies from the human world are applicable to robots as well. The classic T-shirt “second fold” robot is used to fold an already flat T-shirt in less than 30 seconds. However, the general process takes longer than that. The entire procedure of fixing the garment, setting the condition and then folding takes an average of about 2 minutes.
Despite this, the technology is still largely in the experimental stage. The double-armed robot used It is an advanced device that costs tens of thousands of dollars, and an industrial 3D vision system probably isn’t cheap either. Plus it’s not mobile, so it can only work in a small space in front of its base.
The folding results are clearly not in line with human speeds, but it also leaves something to be desired in quality as well. Pincer manipulators are able to pick up many different pieces of clothing, but they lack dexterity. The clothes folded by the robot are not particularly clean and tidy, and it certainly will not pass your average hot topic or Gap.
However, those interested in delving into the world of laundry automation can benefit from this cutting-edge research. Not only is the research paper available online, but data sets And the code repository she also.
SpeedFolding represents a huge leap forward in the world of automated laundry folding, and we can’t wait to see the next step. Who knows where we will be in another ten or twenty years? Maybe we’ll all run our own foldable laundry robots from affordable fusion energy! We can only hope.
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