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We present an algorithm for automatically unfolding a piece of clothing. A piece of laundry is pulled in different directions at various points of the cloth in order to flatten the laundry. The features of the cloth are extracted and calculated to determine a valid location and orientation in which to interact with it. The features include the peak region, corner locations, and continuity / discontinuity of the cloth. In this paper we present a two-stage algorithm, introducing a novel solution to the unfolding / flattening problem using interactive perception. Simulations using 3D simulation software, and experiments with robot hardware demonstrate the ability of the algorithm to flatten pieces of laundry using different starting configurations. These results show that, at most, the algorithm flattens out a piece of cloth from 11.1% to 95.6% of the canonical configuration.
Date of Conference: 25-30 Sept. 2011