Enabling garment-agnostic laundry tasks for a Robot Household Companion
Robotics and Autonomous Systems
2020

Domestic chores, such as laundry tasks, are dull and repetitive. These
tasks consume a significant amount of daily time, and are however
unavoidable. Additionally, a great portion of elder and disabled people
require help to perform them due to lack of mobility. In this work we
present advances towards a Robot Household Companion (RHC), focusing on
the performance of two particular laundry tasks: unfolding and ironing
garments. Unfolding is required to recognize the garment prior to any
later folding operation. For unfolding, we apply an interactive
algorithm based on the analysis of a colored 3D reconstruction of the
garment. Regions are clustered based on height, and a bumpiness
value is computed to determine the most suitable pick and place points
to unfold the overlapping region. For ironing, a custom Wrinkleness
Local Descriptor (WiLD) descriptor is applied to a 3D reconstruction to
find the most significant wrinkles in the garment. These wrinkles are
then ironed using an iterative path-following control algorithm that
regulates the amount of pressure exerted on the garment. Both algorithms
focus on the feasibility of a physical implementation in real
unmodified environments. A set of experiments to validate the algorithms
have been performed using a full-sized humanoid robot.