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Robots Take Over the Ironing

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A robot handles a sweater.

Researchers have developed a robot capable of organizing and folding fabrics, textiles, and garments.

Credit: CloPeMa

Researchers funded by the European Union have developed a state-of-the-art robot capable of organizing fabrics, textiles, and garments, and then folding them neatly.

The CloPeMa project faced the difficult task of building a robot that can manipulate objects that do not retain their shape, which requires a new way of receiving and processing information.

One of the novel challenges has been designing a robot from mainly off-the-shelf components. Various components were assembled and integrated into one operating system, such as a special built-in camera that enables the robot to see fibers close up, and differentiate light fabrics from dark and starchy materials from more flexible ones.

The team created a database of 80 color images with corresponding horizontal and vertical disparity maps to help the robot perceive and manipulate garments in three dimensions via an active binocular robotic vision system.

The researchers say the robot potentially could be used to sort through fabrics in industrial settings, with human assistance.

From CORDIS News
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