Organiser: The Institute of Robotics for Dependency.

Collaborating organisation: Ramon Molinas Foundation.

Implementation Dates: 01/06/2020 – 30/09/2020.

 

Laundry ID, a laundrette that is inclusive, environmentally friendly and ergonomic, and supports the employment of people with disabilities

The Ramon Molinas Foundation has collaborated with The Institute of Robotics for Dependency (IRD), with the aim of improving Laundry ID, a laundrette that is inclusive, environmentally friendly and ergonomically designed. Sponsored by the Ave María Foundation and with technology developed by the IRD, Laundry ID supports the inclusion of people with disabilities into the workplace by guiding employees in the process of operating a laundrette.

Laundry ID simplifies the classification and sorting of laundry by attaching an RFID microchip to each garment, which helps to reduce the number of errors. As each item of clothing is folded by an employee, the Laundry ID system identifies the customer it belongs to and displays this information on a small screen. An LED light then indicates which basket to place each item to be collected. The Laundry ID process helps to standardise labelling and traceability, while also providing useful data and statistics on the use of laundry services.

The system developed by the Institute of Robotics for Dependency adds value to laundrettes in residential centres and creates employment for a demographic of people that typically find it difficult to enter the workplace. At the same time, Laundry ID improves the service for customers and their families by providing a solution to a common problem: the loss of clothing. Lastly, as the Laundry ID system has been ergonomically designed, it reduces the risk of bad posture, strain and repetitive movements typically associated with manual handling.

 

The programme has helped to turn Laundry ID into a functional, comprehensive and competitive solution

The collaboration between Ramon Molinas Foundation and The Institute of Robotics for Dependency prevents clothing belonging to different customers from being mixed up. Using advanced RFID technology, microchips are read at different frequencies, whereas the microchips used up to this point work just at a very short range – they only successfully identified a piece of clothing when there were no other garments nearby to interfere with the reading. This new technology can read several microchips at once, allowing the system to verify that all the pieces of clothing in one basket belong to the same person.

The Institute of Robotics for Dependency developed a handheld receptive antennae app that can read multiple chips long range, and upgraded the integrated circuits microchips on each garment with dual in-line package technology. The system reporting on service quality has also been improved.

 

The Institute of Robotics for Dependency, an organisation that uses cutting edge technology to improve quality of life for people with disabilities

The Institute of Robotics for Dependency was created in 2015 thanks to the support of the Ave María Foundation. Based in Sitges, the Ave María Foundation is an organisation that has been offering specialised care for adults with intellectual disabilities since 1987. Throughout its history, the organisation has developed a large number of projects with the aim of providing innovative, practical, sustainable and low-cost solutions to provide clear benefits to people with disabilities, their families, and the people that support them.

The Institute of Robotics for Dependency inherited the branch of research and investigation which up until that point had been managed by the Ave María Foundation. The challenge was to continue to update and innovate technology within the disability sector. In just five years, the IRD has forged connections with leaders in the disability sector and with companies specialising in robotics, published articles in international scientific journals, presented at a large number of conferences, participated in the European Commission H2020 scheme, and worked with various European universities and research centres.

 

Laundry ID provides the chance to break down barriers to employment for people with disabilities

In Spain there are 1,860,600 people with disabilities of working age, according to the 2019 Report on Disabled People in Employment created by the Spanish Public Employment Service (SEPE), attached to the Ministry of Labour, Migrations and Social Security. The report states that 65% of people with disabilities are currently unemployed, far higher than the 34% of people registered as unemployed that do not have a disability. SEPE attributes this high level of unemployment to lack of training – half of disabled people that are unemployed are only educated to primary level.

Laundry ID provides the chance to break down barriers to employment for people with disabilities. In Spain, there are more than 4,000 care centres for disabled people and 5,000 care centres for the elderly. The solution presents residential centres with the opportunity to create jobs and contributes positively to one of the greatest challenges of the social sector: integrating people with disabilities into the labour market.

 

 

Links of interest:

Institute of Robotics for Dependency website.

Laundry ID website.