Speedfolding, the name given to a pair of industrial robotic arms coupled with a ‘machine vision’ neural network called BiManual Manipulation Network (BiMaMa-Net), can fold up to 30 to 40 garments an hour. The robot, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley’s AUTOLAB, can pick up a garment laid before it in any random position and proceed to fold it in about a minute or two. While that may not seem fast, previous robots could only fold 3 to 6 garments an hour, making this thing the Usain Bolt of clothes folding.
It’s still a far cry from the speed of a human, but just give it time. But do NOT give it a knife, because it will try to stab you. Trust me; I know robots. Even my Roomba has tried to break my ankle on several occasions.
Will Speedfolding soon be employed at your local dry cleaners? It’s hard to say. If the cost is reasonable and they can speed this thing up at least 4X, I’d say it’s a real possibility. Admittedly, I do appreciate a razor-sharp crease in my dress pants. Dress pants, LOL! I haven’t worn anything but sweats for almost three years now.