Sock-Folding Robot Invented at Cal

By Matt Baume
|  Tuesday, Aug 31, 2010  |  Updated 4:34 PM PDT
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49ers Kicker Takes on a Robot

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49ers Kicker Takes on a Robot

It was man versus machine as 49ers kicker Joe Nedney squared off with a robot in a field goal kicking contest.

49ers Kicker Takes on a Robot

It was man versus machine as 49ers kicker Joe Nedney squared off with a robot in a field goal kicking contest.
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Say hello to the future: A giant cabinet-sized robot that will free you of the daily drudgery of painstakingly folding your socks.

Two UC Berkeley researchers have been hard at work at what they call "sockification," a software program for robots. Thanks to their work, a specially-constructed machine is now able to look at a pile of socks, grasp one sock in a claw, match it with its mate and turn it right-side-out if necessary. It's a particularly daunting task for robots, which prefer to handle very rigid, predictable, inorganic shapes.

This isn't their first folding robot. Last April, the team made headlines with a robot that could fold towels. The towel-folder does a strange little dance. First it grips the towels in its claws, then very slowly spins them until it can find a corner. Then it wheels the towels over a workbench and gingerly folds and stacks them.

As if doing your housework for you isn't enough, these machines are also able to plug themselves into the wall to recharge.

Matt Baume always knew the robot apocalypse would begin this way.

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