Robotic clothes folder Foldimate to debut in 2018

A new robotic appliance called FoldiMate, which can actually fold clothes, is expected to hit the stores in 2018.

The company's website features a video showing laundry which was clipped to the front of the folding appliance being fed to the inside where robotic hands fold the items one at a time.

After clothes are folded, they are steamed individually to minimise wrinkling and can be given a softening or sanitising treatment before being stacked on to the folded pile.

The garments can be removed after the pile is fully stacked and new ones clipped to start the process over.

The machine can fold most types of clothes, like pants, shirts and towels, but small garments like socks and underwear still need to be folded by hand.

According to FoldiMate, the appliance completed the task of folding a load of laundry twice as fast  it takes to fold clothes manually.

The company plans to start accepting pre-orders next year.

The machine would carry a price tag of $700 to $850 depending on specifications.

Between 15 and 20 items can be fed (or "clipped") into the machine at a time, which takes about ten seconds to fold each item.

The machine is programmed to make a "standard fold," but additional folding styles can be purchased through FoldiMate's internet store.

Commentators point out that this was not the first clothes folding robot and in 2010, YouTuber msjahloo posted a video of a crude-but-effective clothes-folding machine. The machine was built using a cheap processor, cardboard, and wood.

A clothes folding robot called the Laundroid debuted at CES 2016, though FoldiMate was the best-designed attempt, and would hit the market first.