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Robots That Serve Beyond The Vacuum

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the alt-title-robots-that-don't-suck dept.

Robotics 258

Tim Brown of Mobile Robotics writes "While everyone has been debating the abilities of new robotic vacuum cleaners and their varying price tags, Siemens has quietly announced they have developed a 'Dressman' robot that will iron your clothes! (my least favorite household chore). Rumoured to be priced at US$1700 it seems expensive for an iron. But it appears that the Roomba's best work might be that it is ushering in a new era of innovation in home products. (Note very cool picture with the article.)"

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Nice but... (0, Troll)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301024)

This [trollse.cx] robot is better and much cheaper!

Gym story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301244)

This morning in the gym there were these two beefcake jackasses who hogged the benchpress for an entire hour.

One of them was spotting for the other and he kept shouting "It's all you man!" and "Go on, go on, go on! Feel the burn!" like a madman while the other guy was fighting the weights.

Fucking morons.

$1700 eh? (5, Funny)

Moderator (189749) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301025)

Man, for $1700 this thing better do military creases.

Re:$1700 eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301133)

4 shirts an hour
you'd thing is was pretty meticulous

Re:$1700 eh? (5, Insightful)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301237)

And what about autonomy? I expect an apliance that is in the category of "robot" to be able to take a pile of clothes and end up with a bunch of shirts on hangers. After setup, Roomba needs little assistance to get the job done where this device needs an operator for every shirt.

If this is a robot, then so is my dishwasher, clothes washing machine and even my blender.

TW

Too much for too little. (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301026)

More or less, I'm your average geek. I telecommute, but my state of dress on any given day is not much different than when I worked in an office. That being said, how often do men really need to iron their clothes?

I don't recall ironing a single piece of clothing since my job interview more than four years ago and that is the only time I've used an iron in my twenty-seven years. Hell, I only even own an iron because an ex-girlfriend needed it for her clothes - and I needed it for an upcoming project which including using an applique.

Still, if you're a snazzy dresser and you wear clothing that tends to need ironing and you're a single person, I suppose this is a decent product. Especially if you have the money to burn.

It really seems that this device (which reminds me of those punching-bag exercisers I've seen on television a couple times) is geared more toward the garment pressing industry than a home-user.

Personally, the only robot I'm interested in is a sex-slave android and I don't think we'll be seeing any of those in my lifetime.

Re:Too much for too little. (2, Informative)

HBI (604924) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301042)

I personally don't see this robot as delivering a military-pressed and lightly starched shirt. That said, if someone came up with one, i'd love to avoid visiting the dry cleaner regularly to get that. Mr. Lee is a great guy but it's a pain in my ass to go there, not to mention a not inconsiderable expense.

Call me when the technology is actually there, i'll buy.

Re:Too much for too little. (2, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301262)

What would really impress me is a washing machine that you could just through your clothes into and it would decide, based on the color and material of your clothing, what temperature and how much water to use as well as how long to run for and how much of what kind of soap to include.

That might only work if you used some sort of modified RFID tag that would transmit the details of the clothing, but it could still be cool.

Re:Too much for too little. (0)

shird (566377) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301054)

Still, if you're a snazzy dresser and you wear clothing that tends to need ironing and you're a single person, I suppose this is a decent product.

What does being single have to do with it? Because when you have a girlfriend/wife you make her do it? Or perhaps you don't need to iron once you get hooked up?

Re:Too much for too little. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301075)

Yes to both. Or either.

Re:Too much for too little. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301077)

Unless you're married to a career woman, why shouldn't she iron your clothes? What, are you going to work 60 hours a week for the rest of your life so you can afford to keep a girlfriend or a wife who will have sex with you? Afraid to ask her to do her share of things around the house while you do your share of busting your hump for a salary that keeps her housed, clothed and fed?

I don't know about you, but I can get sex any time I want and I have plenty of friends. What reason then would I have for hooking up with someone who was just going to have all this free time to do nothing with, unless they were going to take care of domestic things in the household that I cannot due to my career?

If she's a career woman contributing significantly to your household financially, that's a different case. But that very rarely is the situation and I'm not enough of a pussy to pay a woman's way through life if she isn't going to work (be it in a real career and not just a part time minimum wage gig or at least take care of our domestic side in life) just because I don't feel there's anyway I could possibly keep a woman.

Re:Too much for too little. (0, Flamebait)

TheAntiCrust (620345) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301117)

Some people believe you have to fake yourself to get a girlfriend/wife. He is a sloppy person and would only be clean if he felt he is getting something out of the deal...

Not that it's bad or anything, some people like to look nice, and some people dont care.

Or maybe he is a male chuavinist pig... but I try to see the best in people and hope he's just a sloppy loser.

Re:Too much for too little. (0, Offtopic)

Seumas (6865) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301150)

I make a good salary with my professional career. I don't need a second high income. I do need someone that can take care of the more domestic side of a household so I'm more likely to marry someone who would want to take on that responsibility than I am to someone who also makes a strong salary and has a professional career which keeps her very busy.

For one, we'd never see each other. And for another, what's chauvenist about each person doing their fair share of things? If one person is working 60 or 80 hours a week to make a six figure salary and the other spends a few hours a day dealing with household endeavors, that seems quite fair and proper to me.

On the other hand, if I find myself with a well-off professional wife, then clearly we could afford to just hire someone to take on our household chores for us.

And for what it's worth, my preference has always been the successful career woman but I've found them quite rare in this city.

Re:Too much for too little. (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301058)

Why is it that every good idea that appears on /. gets knocked down by at least one person who doesn't see the usefulness of it just because it doesn't suit his exact personal individual circumstances? I mean, come on, this bit about "me being an average geek," which is as subjective a statement as ever there was; what has that got to do with the price of fish?

Dude, if you live on the West coast of the US, then, okay, it's a good bet that you are not going to need to iron your shirt. I live in Silicon Valley and I can't remember the last time I wore a shirt that had to be ironed. However, (and it's a _big_ however) if you live on the East Coast or in certain cities on Europe, or especially in Japan, this thing is gonna be worth its weight in gold to someone, most likely a dry-cleaning business.

Re:Too much for too little. (2, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301094)

if you live on the East Coast or in certain cities on Europe, or especially in Japan, this thing is gonna be worth its weight in gold to someone, most likely a dry-cleaning business.

Which is why I said this "is geared more toward the garment pressing industry than a home-user."

Anything short of a business suit doesn't really need to be pressed and ironed. Just buy wrinkle-free clothing. And you're right about the west coast thing. I've never worn a suit in my life and I can't recall the last time I saw someone in my company wearing one. Even our CEO is usually khaki slacks and a dress shirt or jeans and a sweater. Even when he's on television.

Re:Too much for too little. (2, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301189)

Dude, if you live on the West coast of the US, then, okay, it's a good bet that you are not going to need to iron your shirt.

I live in NY. I used to work as a men's suit salesman and was expected to look seriously sharp at all times. I didn't have to iron a shirt while doing so.

Indeed, I'm more inclined to iron when dressed casually in untreated soft cottons or linens that shrink and wrinkle. Plackets on flannel shirts pucker up terribly, and if you're inclined to more esoteric fashions (for the American northeastern megalopolis) shenti/veshti and chlamys/sari can use a pass with an iron, especially along the hem and selvage, now and again.

For the most part formal clothing has dealt with the issue by developing technology that largely obviates the need to iron, at least for those who wash and store their clothes properly. If you just toss shit on the floor/in the dresser your milage may well vary a good deal.

KFG

Obligatory sex droid link... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301121)

linky [realdoll.com]

Re:Too much for too little. (4, Interesting)

ahfoo (223186) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301198)

"Personally, the only robot I'm interested in is a sex-slave android and I don't think we'll be seeing any of those in my lifetime."

I shouldn't be giving away my plans to rule the world and make a zillion bucks, but the sex robot might not be as difficult as you think. As always, you start off with what has already been done. In this case, there's already a major growth industry in robotic milking machines.
In fact, the reason there's so much growth in the field is that cows actually prefer robotic milkers and tend to go in for an extra milking a day because it just feels right. I'm not kidding. This is precisely why there is growth despite the costs, the diary ends up with higher milk production.
So, perhaps an android is out of the question so far, but how about 1090i video on a cube of four 42 inch high resolution panels and a milk machine!
You heard it here first baby.
And as for this hot air toy, how the hell is it a robot if you have to put the shirt on it yourself?

robots (1)

rashmi (784513) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301242)

sex-slave android would never give you a human touch.

Way cool (2)

probain (206453) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301029)

The robot looks nice

A wonderful idea! (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301031)

How about instead of spending $1700 on a robot, just take your clothes out of the dryer and hang them up quickly enough that they don't have time to wrinkle?

It works for me...

A better idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301152)

Why not save the electricity, and ironing, and just hang your clothes on a clothesline for the day?

I just hope... (1)

Blue Eagle 26 (683113) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301033)

i just hope it never Burninates your cloths!

Does all the chores of a housewife except... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301036)

SEX! Where's my robotic RealDoll?

Boooring. (5, Informative)

revmoo (652952) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301037)

How is THAT a robot? It's a dummy that inflates with hot air(that you have to put the shirts on yourself, no less) that is supposed to save you $1700 worth of your time somehow.

Yeah right.

Re:Boooring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301051)

Well, if you do a lot of dry cleaning or something, I suppose it might be useful. But considering even if you are a flashy dresser and need to drop things off at the cleaners on a weekly basis, you're only talking about $200/mo tops. I don't own $1,700 worth of clothing, much less will I ever need $1,700 worth of dry cleaning or ironing.

And you're right - it doesn't seem to be any more a "robot" than those humanoid punching bag things that light up depending on what part of the torso you hit are.

Re:Boooring. (3, Interesting)

Manaz (46799) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301059)

Now, I agree with this comment (there's no way that's a robot) - but it brings up the question - exactly what DOES constitute a robot?

A lot of us, I imagine, immediately think of devices such as the robot in "Lost in Space", or (those of us who are a bit older, or into movies) Klaatu (sp) from "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Industrial robots (such as those used to manufacture cars, or carry out extremely dangerous industrial procedures), or other devices, such as those used by the police to defuse bombs, etc are most certainly real "robots" - but what is it about those devices is it that makes them a robot?

Re:Boooring. (1)

Manaz (46799) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301089)

And, perhaps just as importantly, what about this ironing "device" excludes it from being a robot?

Re:Boooring. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301162)

But by that logic, what excludes a regular household iron from being a "robot"?

Re:Boooring. (2, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301091)

Now, I agree with this comment (there's no way that's a robot)

Why not? A robot does not need to walk or talk. Automotive welding and industrial assembly robots are proof of this.

but what is it about those devices is it that makes them a robot?

The ability to perform a task without continuous human control. But I don't think that bomb disposal units count as robots because a human being is constantly in control of it.

LK

Re:Boooring. (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301116)

But I don't think that bomb disposal units count as robots because a human being is constantly in control of it.

Exactly. Just like "Battlebots", they're not robots; they're just remote-control whatevers. If it doesn't have AI of some sort, it's not a robot.

Re:Boooring. (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301250)

Exactly. Just like "Battlebots", they're not robots; they're just remote-control whatevers. If it doesn't have AI of some sort, it's not a robot.

For the most part I agree with you, I guess the only point of contention I can find is in how one defines "AI". If it's just repeating the same action with no kind of real calculations involved, it can still be considered a robot.

LK

Re:Boooring. (2, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301104)

You bring up an interesting point. Technically, you could call modern dishwashers or automatic carwashers robots. But it seems that people think 'robot' = 'mechanical living thing', where the criteria for 'living thing' is based on morphology -- it should look like a humanoid, or a 4 legged animal, or an insect... I guess plant-shaped robots don't count, unless they could grow somehow. Perhaps another criterion is automotive -- not like a car, but something that truly moves on its own. This might necessitate sensors and AI, to fit most people's idea of a robot.

It's shows a lot about human psychology to ask what is a proper robot. The mechanical slaves we have today (washers, cars, microwaves) really aren't credited for the incredible amounts of drudgery they save us from.

Re:Boooring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301167)

Klaatu was the dude in "The Day the Earth Stood Still"

Gort was the robot.

Re:Boooring. (1)

lommer (566164) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301177)

I think that for me, the defining aspect of a robot is that it MOVES. It doesn't have to have a moving base, but it does need to move in space (e.g. industrial welding bots). I think that for me, as well as many other people, actuated mechanical joints and limbs is what a robot is. If it's autonomous or semi-autonomous, that's even better, but not strictly neccesary.

I agree about this thing too - it's an appliance, not a robot.

Re:Boooring. (1)

achurch (201270) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301211)

but it brings up the question - exactly what DOES constitute a robot?

How about "a machine that autonomously interacts physically with its environment"? That's probably the closest match to the way I've seen "robot" be used in recent years (caveat: I'm living in Japan). Traditional robots--humanoid things that walk around, talk to you, and so on--obviously do this, but so do industrial robots, for example. I recently saw a news segment about a new "robot" that's designed to help disabled people get into and out of bed (IIRC); all it consisted of was a mechanical arm attached to a frame that assisted the user's movements. On the other hand, jackhammers interact physically with their environment through user control, but I doubt anyone would consider them "robots".

In this particular case, I agree that it's pretty tough to call the machine as is a robot. Suppose, though, that it was able to take shirts one at a time from a pile and put them on its body to iron--how would you classify it then? For me, at least, it would be a tough call.

Re:Boooring. (1)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301219)

The Wikipedia suggest this definition of a robot [wikipedia.org] :[qoute]
In practical usage, a robot is a mechanical device which performs automated tasks, either according to direct human supervision, a pre-defined program or, a set of general guidelines, using artificial intelligence techniques. These tasks either replace or enhance human work, such as in manufacturing, construction or manipulation of heavy or hazardous materials.

A robot may include a feedback-driven connection between sense and action, not under direct human control. The action may take the form of electro-magnetic motors or actuators that move an arm, open and close grips, or propel the robot. The step by step control and feedback is provided by a computer program run on either an external or embedded computer or a microcontroller. By this definition, a robot may include nearly all automated devices.

Alternately, robot has been used as the general term for a mechanical man, or an automaton resembling an animal, either real or imagined. It has come to be applied to many machines which directly replace a human or animal in work or play. In this way, a robot can be seen as a form of biomimicry. Anthropomorphism is perhaps what makes us reluctant to refer to the highly complex modern washer-dryer as a robot. However, in modern understanding, the term implies a degree of autonomy that would exclude many automatic machine tools from being called robots. It is the search for ever more highly autonomous robots which is the major focus of robotics research and which drives much work in artificial intelligence.
[/qoute]


So, this inflatable dummy may or may not be defined as a robot... allthought my gut feeling is that it's 'merely' a piece of automatic gadgetery.

Re:Boooring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301229)

but it brings up the question - exactly what DOES constitute a robot?

Good question. Wiki has good answers.

Robot - a machine with artificial intelligence.
Android - a robot that resembles a human being.
Cyborg - a creature which is a mixture of organic and mechanical parts.

History of the word... (2, Interesting)

Beolach (518512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301233)

Clicky [wikipedia.org]
The word robot comes from the Czech robota meaning "labor." The word was first used in Karel Capek's play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) (written in 1920; first performed 1921; performed in New York 1922; English edition published 1923).
1 [setonhill.edu] . While Karel is frequently acknowledged as the originator of the word, he wrote a short letter in reference to the Oxford English Dictionary etymology in which he named his brother, painter and writer Josef Capek as its true inventor. 2 [misto.cz] . . . .
So, at least literally, a robot is anything that labors. Check the clicky to see more of it's literary history, or read some of Isaac Asimovs numerous essays on robots.

Re:Boooring. (5, Funny)

Soko (17987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301064)

Yeah.

A bunch of dummies inflating with enough hot air to stuff a shirt, all for all too much money.

Sounds like Congress, doesn't it?

Soko

Re:Boooring. (2, Funny)

AtomicBomb (173897) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301074)

What a huge contribution! The problem of shirt ironing is now gone.... But, wait a minute... how about the goddamned pair of trousers.

Re:Boooring. (5, Informative)

canadian_right (410687) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301183)

I worked as a clothes presser at a dry cleaners ( a long time a go!), and that "robot" was a standard piece of equipment circa 1980, and it certainly was not a robot! We called it "the susan". It was used for suit jackets mainly as we actualy laundered shirts and pressed them because they were generally too wrinkled to look nice with a just good steaming. All the pressing equimpent shoots out steam, and is air-powered. There was a small iron for deatil work. We also had a similar machine for doing the tops of pants, and a big press for doing legs and bodies.

For a minute there I thought my back up career might in jepardym but looks like it is still safe.

Re:Boooring. (2, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301191)

It would be cheaper just to export the ironing jobs to India. :P

Not a robot (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301038)

How can that possibly be called a robot.

It is NOT a robot.

Great... (1)

JNighthawk (769575) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301039)

Instead of important innovations, we're moving towards becoming lazier and lazier.

Well, to be fair, I *am* lazy and fat. But this robot wouldn't benefit me any. I don't iron.

Re:Great... (2, Insightful)

ScriptGuru (574838) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301172)

Not all innovations toward laziness or progress are one way. Something that is designed for the consumer market may easily be applied in other more useful fields, and vice versa, like the material in excersize pants being used for cooling systems, the material in shuttle windows being used for fogless ski goggles, computers being used by people other than scientists... Who is to say that this innovation won't be useful in other fields down the road, it uses quite a few pieces of technology which could easily be applied to industry and NASA.

Gee I wonder how many (2, Funny)

TCaM (308943) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301040)

people here are drooling over the future prospect of the Cherry 2000.

Re:Gee I wonder how many (1)

Manaz (46799) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301066)

I wonder how many people actually know what Cherry 2000 was.

At least if this ironing shirt malfunctions, your shirt's the only thing that's gonna be blown (up)...

Re:Gee I wonder how many (1)

Hakubi_Washu (594267) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301072)

Well, I know, I am :-)

What will REALLY put robotics in the home... (4, Insightful)

xagon7 (530399) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301041)

is a robot that will pickup, wash, dry, iron, fold, and put away your clothes.

As well as wash, dry, and put away your dishes.

O yeah,

Mow the lawn and wash the car while its at it.

That way I can use all my spare time exercising.

Re:What will REALLY put robotics in the home... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301060)

But if you're going to spend that much money on it, why not just get a girlfriend or a wife? And if you have a girlfriend or a wife - unless they have their own career - they should be spending their time at home doing those things instead of letting you pay for a robot to do them so she can sit on her fat ass while you bring home the income.

Re:What will REALLY put robotics in the home... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301129)

Wow, what a dumbass chauvinistic remark.

Re:What will REALLY put robotics in the home... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301175)

It's chauvenist to think that if one person doesn't work and the other does that the person who doesn't work should take care of your home? What, do you feel that one person should work and the other shouldn't do ANYTHING if they don't have a job? I'd rather be chauvinistic than a lazy unemployed mooch.

Re:What will REALLY put robotics in the home... (1)

Beolach (518512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301166)

This is why Isaac Asimov believed that the best robots would be humaniform - a humaniform robot would be able to use any tool designed for human use (think the vacuum, lawnmower, dishwasher, etc that you already have), and would not be limited to one specific area of specialization. Of course, in Asimov's robot stories he had his 'positronic brain' that gave his robots near-human AI, which is the big requirement for a multi-purpose robot (although there are of course several other difficulties with humaniform robots, for example balance - most bipedal robots are rather unsteady). Creating a robot intelligent enough to ideally be able to learn how to use multiple tools, or at the very least pre-programmed to use multiple tools is a huge hurdle, and at least for now in the commercial arena it really only feasible to create speciallized robots, and since they're being speciallized anyway, there's no reason to overcome the numerous other difficulties related to humaniform robotics. So I think there are really two possibilities for the future: either as xagon7 suggests house working robots will really not catch on until they become multi-purpose, in which case Asimov may have been correct and humaniform robots become common; or else speciallized robots will catch on, at least enough that multiple robots specialized for different chores will be developed, and once you have 1 robot to vacuum, another to mow, another to do dishes, etc. to the point where all your chores are being completed, in which case there would be no need for a single multi-purpose robot.

(OT) Speaking of Asimov... (0)

Beolach (518512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301192)

He's got to be spinning in his grave over the new I, Robot [irobotnow.com] movie. Based on the trailer, it is just so very wrong. It looks really cool, but it (my guess based on the trailer) screws up so many fundamental things in Asimov's robot stories that it really bugs me. Hopefully I'm wrong and the actual movie will be stay more or less true to the books, but I really don't have that much faith in Hollywood...

Re:What will REALLY put robotics in the home... (2, Funny)

howman (170527) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301200)

they call them children...

What makes it a robot? (1, Redundant)

enosys (705759) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301043)

What makes it a robot? It's just an alternative to an iron. It's a fairly dumb machine. It just has to pre-heat and then blow hot air for a set time. You have to put the shirt on and everything.

Get A Wife (1, Funny)

machocomacho (760106) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301047)

If you get a wife, you can wake to freshly ironed clothes everyday, the bad side, they talk back,need to be fed, and you have to go through a wedding, which is more than $1700, but a wife won't crash or need to be charged hmmm... decision decisions....

Re:Get A Wife (4, Funny)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301101)

f you get a wife, you can wake to freshly ironed clothes everyday, the bad side, they talk back,need to be fed, and you have to go through a wedding, which is more than $1700, but a wife won't crash or need to be charged hmmm... decision decisions....

I think you mean "girlfriend". Let me explain...

The shirt ironing robot won't blow you. Neither will a wife. A shirt ironing robot won't cook dinner for you. Neither will a wife.

What you need is a girlfriend, you can get your shirt ironed, your meals cooked, and your penis sucked. Wives and shit ironing robots don't even come close.

Yes, I am divorced.

LK

Shirts Only? (1)

mr_lithic (563105) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301052)

I was hoping for something that had a little arm that move hot steel over a board.

Instead it is looks like some kung-fu fighting dummy and it only irons shirts - they don't mention different sizes.

I think of a lot of ways spending 1700 hours than having something that just irons shirts. How much does a decent ironing service in the States cost these days? 1 or 2 dollars a shirt?

No thanks.... (1)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301056)

Considering the extremely low rate that I need to iron my pants and the relatively low cost of dry cleaning, $1700 would pretty much keep me going for several lifetimes.

Ironing for the Lazy (2, Interesting)

lupin_sansei (579949) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301061)

Here's how I get my shirts wrinkle free with no ironing.

1) Hang online while still wet
2) Place dry shirt in tumble dryer for 10 minutes just before wearing it
3) Wear shirt, letting body heat finish the job

Ironing for the really really lazy (4, Funny)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301111)

  1. Wash clothes
  2. Get clothes out of washing machine. It's two days later so they smell all musty.
  3. Wash clothes again.
  4. Get clothes out of washing machine and put in dryer.
  5. Get clothes out of dryer. It's two days later so clothes have settled in an incredibly creased state.
  6. Wash clothes again.
  7. Dry clothes again.
  8. Get clothes out of dryer.
  9. "Hang" over the back of chair.

Re:Ironing for the really really lazy (2, Funny)

lupin_sansei (579949) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301147)

You missed the wash cycle you need to do again when you realised you left a tissue in your pocket and now all your clothes have white bits all over them!

Re:Ironing for the really really lazy (1)

achurch (201270) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301151)

4. Get clothes out of washing machine and put in dryer.

In my day they didn't have dryers--we had to hang the clothes up on a line and wait days for them to dry. And then we still had to iron them!

Oh wait--I still don't have a dryer . . .

Easy DIY project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301062)

Any handyman worth his salt could build this with a blow-up doll, a hairdryer, and a roll of duct tape.

Re:Easy DIY project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301085)

Are you going to donate your inflatable lady for this wacky project?

not a robot (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301067)

yup, it's just a giant iron in the shape of a person. BFD!

personally, I'm waiting for the kitchen-floor Roomba robot mop.. I hate cleaning the kitchen floor with the spong mop, I wish there was a robot I could full up with Armstrong floor cleaner and let loose!

Re:not a robot (1)

DrEasy (559739) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301197)

Can't you just attach a moist towel at the back of the Roomba and let it go?

how much longer.... (3, Funny)

hellmarch (721948) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301070)

till blow-up dolls start doing the work for you? you know there has to be a company working on it somewhere. i just want to know when their IPO is. no, really.

Make $5250 Guaranteed!!! All you need is a PayPal account and $25. We'll do the rest. Click here to find out how. [flamingboard.com]

too much work (1)

gphinch (722686) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301071)

i think that putting the shirt on the dummy sounds like more work than ironing the shirt. then again i never iron anything.

By that definition... (1)

clifgriffin (676199) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301073)

All automated home appliances are now robots. Microwaves, Ovens, Dishwashers, Can Openers, and Trash Compactors are all much more sophisticated as far as I can tell. (and perform much more complicated, essential tasks for much less money.)

Heck, I have the Whirlpool Duet Washing Machine and Dryer set.

Those babies do an amazing job at keeping my clothes washed and in good condition.

They cost much less than 1700 for the pair.

I really see no justification for a hot air baloon gone clothing being called a robot.

(I also have issues with the infamous vacuum cleaner but it at least is closer.)

Clif

I see a new feature... (5, Funny)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301076)

I see a new feature for RealDolls. Just make their skin a thermoelectric heating element, and...

Shirts pressed while you wank!

Where's the Robot? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301081)

Where's the robot? They call it a "Iron Dummy" in the product description.
If anything this is just another device which helps YOU iron your clothes.
I'll stick to the $19.99 iron for now.

I also wish everyone would stop calling remote controlled cars Robots!
The TV show "Robot Wars" was such a disgrace to robots worldwide.

Waste of space and cash.. (2, Interesting)

Mechcommander (784124) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301088)

While it is nice that the home robotics field is getting some attention, I believe this is a nearly useless device. Most of us (even us uber-geeks) saw our mothers iron clothes once or twice in our lives. I could easily spend $30 on a nice iron, and learn a new ironing technique (Google, anyone? [google.com] ) and iron my clothes from time to time. There is probably a .3% market demand for this robot that simply irons clothes, mainly because of the price and the size.. Seems like an enormous waste of space to me, when an iron is 1/30th of the size, and can fit easily in my closet on a shelf or in a drawer, for that matter. Come on, you researchers: Work on something that I can use in my every day life that will help me, yet won't break the bank. As of yet, I have not seen any robotic piece of equipment that does this. (Don't bother mentioning the robotic vacuum, I've read reviews.) However, I can't have my post be all negative: I am happy that some research is being put into these things. Once the technology matures, heck.. I may be finding myself buying something similar to one of these. =)

Where do you draw the line? (1)

Tuvai (783607) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301093)

An interesting novelty item sure, but what genuine purpose would this serve? Whenever advancements in household robotics have been made there has been some justification, especially when related to hygene and cleaning. But minor household chores aren't something worthy of such an investment of time, money and effort.

But this clearly has no practical use as anything other than a novelty, the fact that it just irons shirts doesn't help this image, would you fork out close to 2 grand for something that'll only give half your clothes a nice ironed finish? I doubt it.

In the end, you have to take a step back and think how far this should be taken, it's surely obvious that the mass market will never be able to afford or even accept overly large amounts of robotics, at least not for several decades.

A nice novelty, but even novelties have their limits.

7 or 8 minutes? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301097)

From the article:

a normal cotton shirt usually takes 7-8 minutes

Now, being a single young(ish) male, I don't do a lot of ironing. But what ironing I have done does NOT take 7 or 8 minutes for a normal cotton shirt!

1700 bux for a device that takes longer than traditional methods, takes up an unreasonable amount of space, cant do elastic materials, etc, etc... no thanks.

Re:7 or 8 minutes? (1)

lucifer_666 (662754) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301252)

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing....

This "invention" is just full of hot air!

Boom, tish :-)

interesting, but not that great (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301100)

seems like this would handle the sides, the back, and other flat parts fairly well, but I don't see how it would do the slightly more complex areas (collar, the front edges). Those parts would flap in the air, and probably would stay fairly wrinkled when it's done. I mean, sure, I would love for something to handle the areas around the buttons better, but this looks like you'd have to bust out the iron to redo those spots. And if you spent 1700 and needed to do a little more ironing, that's just totally not worth it.

New? (0, Troll)

Honor (695145) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301112)

This "robot" is not even new. I went on a mission trip this spring and while working in a used-clothing store I used one of these. I guarantee it didn't have the amount of options (or the price tag) but it is certainly the same thing. You put the shirt on, it blows up with hot air, removing all wrinkles, wala its done. There really is no "ironing" involved. And seeing as how I am sure the clothing store could not afford top-of-the line items, and it looked fairly old, I wonder how this could even remotely be considered new?

Also, the Robotic Toaster (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301113)

Just like this one, you set a dial for how well you want your bread (shirt) toasted (ironed). You then depress a lever (press a button) and the robot then toasts (irons) your bread (shirt). It boasts an air filter so that the air due to convection doesn't contain any dust or dirt particles to contaminate your toast (shirt). It also has special insulation so that the outside doesn't get scorching hot -- only the internal elements are hot enough to heat the bread (shirt). But the Robotic Toaster is a bargain at only $795, less than half the price of the Robotic Ironing machine.

Wow, a valid use for a patent (2, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301120)

It's a non-obvious solution for a long-standing problem using technology that's been around for over a hundred years.

What's "Beyond the Vacuum"?? (1, Insightful)

billstewart (78916) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301131)

I was expecting this article to be about somebody's space exploration project, determining the shape of the edges of the universe or something.

But no - it's just hardware that does housecleaning... :-(

Robot??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301136)

I saw the thing myself here in Vught in Holland at a local electronics shop.

To be realistic, "robot" is not what i would call it. It is just a kinda plastic torso that pumps steam into the shirt. (forget about trousers).
You still have to put the shirt on this thing yourself. Nice gizmo, but not a robot.

Asimov predicted this. (1)

jerryasher (151512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301138)

I am waiting for the robot bird that eats mosquitos (especially West Nile!)

this may come as news to some people... (2, Insightful)

dekeji (784080) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301154)

but there are actually businesses that will wash and iron your shirts for you, and they will even fold them (imagine that!). If you need an "emergency shirt" that you can just wash yourself, you can get a no-iron shirt, too.

And for vacuuming, you could always hire someone (but, unlike a robot, a cleaner will raise eyebrows at leftover pizzas and Playboy magazines).

too much money (0, Flamebait)

Sinful_Shirts (784047) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301156)

As a college student I think I will stick with the old fashion iron. Funny how the people that would enjoy these things the most can't afford them :(

explanatory link (4, Funny)

Quasi Qubit (620828) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301158)

Ironing [wiktionary.org]

AutoLave (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301168)

I want a robot to completely manage my laundry. At least move the laundry from the floor, thru washer, then dryer, then fold and reshelve it. Exception handling could just package drycleanables by checking the tag. If it can handle that, it won't need to manage my bachelor's "degrees of wearable laundry", via some eNose and StainSeverity tests. If I spent $3200, including soaps, on all the apparati, I'd save money over about 4-5 years of sending out laundry. To say nothing of looking and smelling better.

There's one in the shop round the corner (1)

threaded (89367) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301173)

There's one in most dry cleaning shops 'round here and they all looks to be at least 10-20 years old.

Is this type of machine something new in America?

Yes new, many decades ago. (1)

rtz (221437) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301186)

What's so new with this? I've seen machines like this (perhaps a little less automated, although the automation in this one appears to be only slightly more advanced than an egg timer) in laundry shops and dry cleaners for as long as I can remember.

And a machine like this only does half the job. You still have to iron the creases so you can fold the shirt.

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9301190)

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlor.. eh housekeepers.

and in its time off... (1)

howman (170527) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301195)

it doubles as a boxing dummy... I wonder if the thing can take a beating?

Another vacuum robot (1)

dhammabum (190105) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301206)

This vacuum-robot [abc.net.au] actually uses a pattern rather than random movement in its travels - won't do corners though.

I just can't help myself with this one... (2, Funny)

howman (170527) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301217)

1. overclock the air compressor
2. press start
3. watch the robot inflate like the incredible hulk
4. duck flying buttons
5. rinse and repete

Oh hell, what now? (1)

malia8888 (646496) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301220)

What is more, ironing dummy can be washed in the washing machine.

Ok, I've washed the ironing dummy........ now what do I iron it with?

:P

Cool (1)

mcc (14761) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301226)

I was getting tired of accidentally setting my clothes on fire myself, now I can get a robot to accidentally set my clothes on fire for me

Usefulness (3, Insightful)

ScriptGuru (574838) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301227)

A lot of people mention the rarity of ironing shirts, but while the Slashdot crowd may not, I know engineers, accountants, and businessmen who wear freshly washed and ironed shirts each and every day. If they make $50000 a year working 2000 hours (40 hours, 50 weeks), that's $25/hr. Say they spend 5 minutes ironing a shirt every busines day (~250), that's $520 of life they waste every year ironing. While still not enough to justify having something iron for them, especially as no one measures their life relative to how much they'd make on the job, there is enough savings to warrant consideration by people who iron in bulk, like Dry Cleaners. It may even be useful in a Laundramat (Probably not, but who knows?).

Wouldn't the results be the same as steaming? (2, Insightful)

Daimaou (97573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301231)

The problem with home clothes steamers is that they don't actually get rid of wrinkles, but rather uniformly wrinkle the clothes; albeit with smaller wrinkles.

Wouldn't the result be the same if one used this "robot"?

It would appear it is a combination of the weight of an iron, or press, and the heat that presses out the wrinkles, not just the heat alone.

And how exactly will that save me time? (1)

gsasha (550394) | more than 10 years ago | (#9301260)

Let's see. I think I can iron a standard cotton shirt in les than their 7-8 minutes, not counting the time they need to put the shirt on the robot and take it back off. And I can iron T-shirts significantly faster.
Now this means that ironing with this thing will be slower than with my regular iron (not to mention that if I get a steam iron for fraction of a cost, I'd do it faster still), and 7-8 minute breaks won't allow me to do anything useful because of context switches.
It is another story if I had a roomful of these ironing dummies, both of them working at the same time, and me continuously putting shirts on and off them. But $1700 apiece, I seriously doubt that.
The robot may be worth for some specialty cases for extremely expensive shirts which will live longer if ironed this way... but again, $1700 buys many of such shirts.
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