16 Jan, 24

Elon Musk’s Tesla Robot’s Scripted Laundry Folding Demo


Elon Musk’s Tesla has unveiled the Optimus humanoid robot, which was recently showcased folding a t-shirt on a table at a development facility. The demonstration suggests a certain level of competence, but concerns arose shortly after Elon Musk shared the video.

Firstly, Musk pointed out that he can personally fold shirts faster than the robot. Secondly, the Optimus robot wasn’t operating autonomously, which is the ultimate goal. Instead, it functioned more like an expensive marionette or, at best, a modern facsimile of early automata, following predetermined motions to accomplish its task.

Elon Musk mentioned that eventually, the robot will “certainly be able to do this fully autonomously.” However, he acknowledged that the current demonstration had artificial constraints, including a fixed-height table and a single article of clothing placed in a carefully positioned basket.

While Tesla has showcased technical wizardry in recent highlight reels, there is skepticism about the scripted and pre-programmed nature of these activities. The demos primarily highlight the impressive functionality of the robot’s joints, servos, and limbs, rather than showcasing advanced artificial intelligence.

Elon Musk’s ambitious prediction of significant progress within three to five years, made at the robot prototype’s original unveiling last year, is met with skepticism. Given the current state of the robot and the general state of the art in robotics, Musk’s timeline seems challenging to achieve.