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(Source: Image courtesy of U.C. Berkeley)
Professor Pieter Abbeel of U.C. Berkeley (keynote speaker at the Embedded Vision Summit), is teaching robots to fold laundry.
Though it's a simple (if tedious) task for humans, sorting and folding laundry is extremely difficult to automate, because there's so much unpredictability. Laundry comes out of the dryer in a jumbled mess, with items stuck together, inside out, and crumpled in odd shapes. Abbeel and his team at Berkeley are making big strides in computer vision and machine learning using the laundry project; the advances made there will be applicable to numerous related problems, including robotic surgery. See the abstract of Abbeel's April 25th keynote speech
at the Embedded Vision Summit.