A dad of three loathed dealing with teeming baskets of clean clothes. So he invented FoldiMate, which will fold everything but your undies.
Gal Rozov has a simple but beautiful dream. He wants to free us from the tyranny of that most monotonous of household chores: folding clothes.
“My wife always claims I’m one of the worst laundry folders in the world, and she’s right. I hate it. It’s tedious,” says Rozov. “We have a washer, dryer, vacuum cleaners, dishwasher. So where is the laundry folder? Why don’t we have it already?”
He isn’t alone in his frustration: According to a recent survey by Braun Research on behalf of Whirlpool, 46% of homeowners long for an appliance that can fold their clothes.
A self-proclaimed “technology freak,” Rozov set out to build a gadget of his own. “I couldn’t resist at least exploring the opportunity to see if it could be done,” the father of three says.
In 2010, he quit his job as a software developer and product manager in Israel to spend two years working with researchers on how build his bot. In 2012, he moved to the U.S. to work with a robotic team in Silicon Valley, where he founded FoldiMate. By 2013, he had a patented technology for folding laundry robotically. And by 2016, after an initial round of investment from family and friends, Rozov was finally able to produce a rough prototype that shares a name with the company itself.
Marketed as a “folding friend,” Rozov’s machine folds, softens, and even infuses fragrance into dry clothing. The user clips a garment to FoldiMate’s feeder, at which point the item is scented and dewrinkled (both optional), folded, and neatly placed on a pile. It’s the size of a European washer and requires approximately two and a half minutes to fold an average laundry load of 25 pieces of clothing.
“You can go through your entire laundry load within minutes,” says Rozov. “It will save you 50% of the time it usually takes.”
Imagine handing over your laundry to a friend who folds it for you.
Designed to allow hanging both sides of the item at the same time. Making the feeding process easy and fast.
A startup has dreamed up a device to ease some of the burden of doing laundry.
It’s called the FoldiMate, a home robot designed to fold your clean clothes all by itself with professional skill and quality results. About the size of a standard domestic washer or dryer and with a big ticket price to match ($700 to $850), the appliance will apparently grab garments within its reach, pull them inside its innards for processing, then spit out piles of smartly stacked and crisply folded clothing.
The quest for making laundry chores less onerous isn’t new. Manufacturers of washing machines and clothes dryers have added special steam cycles to their products that promise to remove wrinkles (and even odors) from garments so you’ll spend less time ironing. Lately, other laundry gadgets with lofty claims have come to market, such as the LG Styler and Whirlpool Swash. These machines are designed to “refresh” delicate items at home to cut down on pricey trips to the dry cleaners. And the Foldimate isn’t the first folding machine we’ve come across. Last year at the CEATEC consumer electronics show in Tokyo, we saw a garment-folding solution called the Laundroid that managed to fold a dress shirt in about five minutes.
But companies have yet to give consumers products that can actually hold up to human performance. Steam washer and dryer cycles can smooth out wrinkled fabrics, but cannot dispel them entirely. Sadly, the Styler and Swash don’t actually remove dirt from your clothes the way regular washing machines do, nor do they press as well as an old-school iron, and they are limited to tackling a few (or one) item at a time.
Unfortunately, the FoldiMate seems to have similar limitations and sounds even more complicated to use. For instance, you can’t just dump mounds of apparel into the FoldiMate all at once and expect it to sort everything out. To use the FoldiMate, you must first clip individual garments such as shirts, sweaters and pants onto the horizontal racks on the front of the machine.
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