Panasonic invests $60m in 'frivolous' laundry robot
When a Japanese start-up unveiled the world's first robot that folds laundry some critics called it 'ridiculous, frivolous, and a waste of engineering talent'.
But electronics giant Panasonic thinks otherwise, and has invested $60m (£49m) in the project.
Seven Dreamers has spent a decade working on the 'Laundroid'.
Due on the market next year, it claims the machine can fold a shirt in ten minutes.
There is still no price tag on the device, which is about the size of a wardrobe and uses artificial intelligence and image recognition technology to fold and stack clothes.
However, Seven Dreamers said that the robot has the potential to revolutionise home life.
It claimed on its website the device could create more time since the average person spends 9,000 hours, or 375 days, folding laundry in their lifetimes.
Panasonic told the BBC it was only funding 10% of the project, saying it was "providing the expertise" for an "all in one" device that can also wash and dry clothes, slated for 2019.
Japan's Daiwa Housing is another minor investor.