Blue is a low-cost #AI #robot that can fold clothes and shows that improvements are continuing in this important field as work shortage in coming years will require more automation

The big features for Blue include that it is low cost and can perform some of the basic human tasks we might want a robotic assistant of the future to perform for us. Blue can do things like fold laundry or make a cup of coffee thanks to advanced AI and deep reinforcement learning. Despite its advanced skills, the robot remains affordable and safe enough that eventually every AI researcher and home can afford one.

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WHY IT MATTERS: Ii find clothes folding robots to be an interesting benchmark in robots use in commercial environments. Folding clothes is a complex task as clothes come in different shapes and made of flexible materials. I’ve been tracking them since early 2010 where it took many hours to fold one shirt and cost 50000$ or more. At CES 2018, folding clothes machines were introduced at a cost of 3500$ but are yet to be fully commercialized. And now this 5000$ robot from UCBerkeley is another point in the trend. With labour shortages in countries like Canada, having robots perform those mondaine¬†tasks will become important but as we see there are still a few generations before they are very cheap and widely available.

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Farid Mheir