Put down that crumpled pile of clothes, a robot that can fold your laundry is coming soon to a closet near you.
Laundroid, a clothes-folding machine built by Japanese company Seven Dreamers, Panasonic, and Japanese homebuilder Daiwa House, was unveiled at an international technology trade show in early October, according to the Telegraph.
According to the Seven Dreamers website, it could free up a lifetime’s worth of time wasted on folding clothes — about 375 days total.
It’s not quite there yet, though.
To use the laundry-folding robot, you first have to individually load the garment in the slot. The robot then uses image recognition software to determine what the garment is and how it should be folded. Four minutes later, the slot opens and a previously crumpled shirt is perfectly folded.
While four minutes sounds like a lot, it’s four minutes you get to go do something else entirely. And, according to CNET, Seven Dreamers plans to release the full version of Laundroid in 2020. With the full version, just load a pile of washed and dried laundry, and the machine would be able to sort, fold, and deposit the folded clothes into a drawer.
The mechanisms behind the folding is top-secret. Shin Sakane, the CEO of Seven Dreamers, assures a BBC reporter that a human isn’t hiding out behind the chrome doors. (A human could fold a shirt much faster, anyway.)
“It took us ten years to develop this prototype technology, there are so many secrets in there,” Sakane told the BBC.
Seven Dreams and their partners aren’t the only researchers trying to do away with the pesky task of sorting and folding laundry. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, are building robots that can fold towels. Berkeley’s PR2 robot initially took 20 minutes to fold one towel, though it eventually learned to do it in a minute and a half.
The Telegraph reports the beta version of Laundroid, which can fold individual T-shirts, collared shirts, skirts, shorts, pants, and towels, won’t be available for purchase in Japan until 2017. So, unfortunately, people who dread folding fitted bed sheets are out of luck, at least for now.
Watch Laundroid in action below.
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