Who'd have thought that shirt folding could be cool? Sheldon's Big Bang Theory exposure of his shirt folding machine introduced the idea to a wider audience, now we have an embedded system that does the job!
The Big Bang Theory is a must watch for any technophile - look out for Steve (Woz) Wozniack' special appearance in Series Four. One of the lower tech items that has made several appearances and made a wider impression than most of the references to exotic theories and sci fi was Sheldon's use of the T Shirt folder - a few pieces of hinged cardboard that allowed him to "automate" the folding of said T shirt. I've seen more than one attempt to make one and more than one video showing just how it's done..
Now we have a real automata that, with a few additions, could do the job without Sheldon's input. The Lego NXT-Shirt folder follows the same basic design but it has some actuators built into the base which automatically flip the sections open and closed - see the video.
OK, so it may not actually go to the drier and remove the T Shirt, fold it and then put it away but... it could make a really nice exercise in simple automation for any introductory class on the subject and you don't have to stick with NTX, you could use an Arduino or similar just as easily.
Who'd have believed that shirt folding could be cool?
This is fun to watch and thought provoking. Perhaps swarm-based robotics has something to offer after all. Watch as the ReefScouts take off like a group of dolphins and then sink to the bottom like a [ ... ]