About a week ago my girlfriend expressed how much she hates ironing, and then it occurred to me that we have washing and drying machines, but where are the ironing machines?
In 2012 researchers at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid built TEO, a six feet tall, 175 lbs humanoid robot that could climb stairs and open doors. Recently TEO’s creators decided that they were going to domesticate the robot, so they decided to teach it how to iron clothes. To give TEO the clothes ironing ability the researchers programmed what they call a “wrinkliness local descriptor” into TEO. The wrinkliness local descriptor allows TEO to examine your clothes and locate wrinkles then proceed to ironing them out.
TEO is currently not capable of placing the piece of clothing on the ironing board on its own, but since it’s going to do the hard work of ironing your clothes, I am pretty sure you won’t mind assisting. In addition to ironing, TEO’s creators plan on making it learn new tasks such as assisting in the kitchen, and ultimately they want TEO to be capable of learning tasks simply by observing a human completing them.
“Once a human places an item of clothing on an ironing board in front of TEO, it uses a camera built into its head to create a hi-res 3D representation of the garment and the ironing board. TEO then detects creases by computing a “wrinkliness local descriptor”. This means coming up with a number between 0 and 1 for each point on the garment, where 0 represents a sharp edge and 1 a flat spot. TEO knows that creases fit somewhere between these two extremes, as the only truly sharp edges are the boundaries of the ironing board. After TEO has all the wrinkles in its sights, it slowly lowers the iron on to the garment, then executes an ironing trajectory calculated to smooth out each crease efficiently. Once that’s done, it runs through it again to “iteratively reduce the wrinkliness”, as its programmers put it.”
It seems pretty much inevitable that robots will eventually take away our factory and construction jobs, but it’s nice to know that they plan to take away our chores as well. I am certain that wives and girlfriends across the world, are eagerly waiting on technology like these to reach their homes so they can all have enough time to go to the gym and work on their summer bodies (or binge watch another season of their favorite TV show).
Just like in the movies, we are all waiting for these robots to be released and start making our lives a tad bit better, or maybe take over and cause havoc worldwide.