When we saw Japan’s laundry folding robot in action last year in Tokyo, my colleague was not impressed, calling it “ridiculous” and “and a waste of engineering talent” – not to mention the 10 minutes it takes to fold a single garment. But that has not put off Panasonic, which has just contributed to US$60 million in funding for the #startup creators of Laundroid.
This will tide Laundroid over to next year, when the appliance goes on sale in Japan. It’s set to arrive in other countries sometime 2018.
There’s no price tag yet for the huge gizmo, which uses robotics, AI, and image recognition to grapple your garb into respectable shape. It then stacks the folded items on the shelves inside its refrigerator-sized chest.
The amount of space needed for Laundroid along with a likely plus-size price tag means that the robot probably won’t be a common fixture in most homes in the years to come. It might have more of a future at businesses that need to fold a ton of stuff, like a clothing store or a hotel.
Japan’s SBI and real estate company Daiwa also contributed to this series B round for Laundroid’s parent company.