Saturday, June 24, 2017

MEET TEO, THE IRONING ROBOT


It is evident consumer robots will the next big market to tackle for manufacturers. So far, no one knows for sure what types of robots, we can expect to be created in the coming years. TEO is an intriguing robot which is capable of ironing clothes. Considering how a lot of people hate ironing, robots like these could become quite popular in the coming years. It is possible we will see more projects like TEO moving forward.


A lot of people will have dreamt about how consumer robots will look like. One could argue we already have certain types of consumer robots at home, including smart thermostats, Alexa, and many other recent innovations. Unfortunately, very few of these products are capable of doing any of the mundane tasks most of us hate so much. Ironing clothes is one of those things we would gladly pay someone else to do, assuming it can be done in a hassle-free manner.
This is where TEO the robot comes into the picture, as he is more than capable of doing this job in a professional manner. Or that is how it appears from the YouTube videos, at least, even though it remains to be seen how well TEO performs in a real-life scenario. Unfortunately for TEO, ironing clothes is about all he can do, even though a lot of people will be more than pleased with this development alone.
TEO Is developed by academics at Carlos III University in Madrid. The robot itself looks like a regular human being in size, despite clearly being made of metal parts and motors. TEO is effectively the name of the algorithm powering the robot, and it provides the machine with 3D perception,  as well as a fine sense of torque and force. There is no point in developing a robot which will shred your clothing while ironing, after all. Moreover, different materials require a different degree of pressure and care, which need to be accounted for.
By looking at the video below this article, one might wonder what the flat item is where TEO’s head should be. It is a camera which gives the robot and its algorithm an idea of the object and allows for the creation of a 3D representation. As a result, the robot can effectively look at the shirt, handkerchief, or other clothing object put on the ironing board. Thanks to this camera, TEO can effectively determine where the wrinkles are and how to achieve an optimal ironing routine.
It has to be said, the YouTube video shows how TEO is a lot slower compared to a human doing the same job. Then again, if one is not doing the job himself or herself, time isn’t exactly of the essence either. It will take some time to get a shirt ironed, but unless you’re in a hurry, TEO will do a fine job at it. Right now, ironing a complete shirt would take quite some time, although this is something which can be improved upon with further research and development.
All of this goes to show consumer robots may be a lot closer than we thought just a few weeks ago. TEO is built to do things humans can do, but it remains to be seen if the robot can be more efficient at it. The current goal is to improve the robot’s capabilities, although the team did not go into specific details at this time. Not having to iron ever again is a major selling point already. Imagine if TEO would do your dishes, take out the trash, and even mop the floors as well.

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