Columbia University researchers have developed a robot that can iron a shirt after analyzing the subtle ridges in a laid-out garment with two sensors made from Xbox Kinects.
Although creating a robot that can iron a shirt has basically only one real-world application, the real gains achieved by the Columbia researchers come from developing a robot with the ability to handle floppy, unpredictable objects.
"Basically, we're just saying that if you have an object that doesn't have a rigid set of states, you have to have a way to model it and deal with it, and what we were able to do is model these objects in a very nice way and figure it out," says Columbia professor Peter Allen.
For example, he says the technology could be applied to working with ropes and cable harnesses, as well as food production.
The researchers plan to publish their results at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in May.
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