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Sock Matching Machine

For people (like me) who are too lazy to match their own socks
  (+14, -1)(+14, -1)
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Have you ever put a load of laundry in the night before you run out of clothes and not had time to fold it and sort the socks out before bed or before work? In the morning, you need to dig through either the laundry basket or the dryer to find a pair of matching socks, which can make you late for work or your classes. This machine would sort the socks that you dump into it and send them out in pairs into a basket, saving both time and effort. You would merely be required to insert the socks into the machine and to put the matched socks away into a drawer or wherever your socks are kept. Spiffy, no?
Galileo, Mar 08 2002

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       +!  It could use color, texture and maybe even weight matching to get the pairs together.  Maybe it could even wrap a small paper band around each pair.  It could get really tricky and personalize each band with the name of the owner of the socks.
bristolz, Mar 09 2002
  

       I think it's achievable.  I mentioned a couple approaches above but add that robotic vision could be used, too.  I think that there are industrial and manufacturing systems that do sorting this complex, and maybe more complex.  It may, however, not be an inexpensive machine.
bristolz, Mar 09 2002
  

       I have solved this problem in a simpler way. I got rid of my old socks and bought 15 pairs of identical, black socks.
dare99, Mar 09 2002
  

       Could you use a simple version of the Digimarc system they include in Photoshop... encrypt simple info into the weave of the socks with tiny metal particles?? Something like? Since socks are made by machines anyhow, I'm sure they could be used to add the different elements... then scan them with a sensitive metal detector...
Danzarak, Mar 11 2002
  

       [dare99] I did that too, bought all black stockings and also sock-length stockings for wearing with trousers and the only difference is the thickness, ...but you'd be surprised how noticeable it is when you have a mismatched pair of 10/20 denier stocking-socks sticking out at the bottom of your suit trousers!
on topic... You can get little plastic clamps (like the twisty ones that hold bread bags closed) from Lakeland Plastics. You clamp the socks in them before you even put them in the basket, and they stay as a pair all through the washing/drying process. They are triangular, with three loops - one for each sock and one to hang the contraption on the washing line. I always thought they were a bit anal retentive but you can't deny they'd be useful!
sappho, Mar 11 2002
  

       Why not implement bar codes in the soles of the sock?
DenholmRicshaw, Mar 12 2002
  

       As a birthday present, my wife's sister bought me socks which have the name of the store woven into the sole of each. I was OK seeing "Next" on one, but hoped that the other would say "Previous".
angel, Mar 12 2002
  

       You could solve the problem by having one foot amputated. You would never have to match socks again and you would effectively double the number of socks that you have.
DenholmRicshaw, Mar 13 2002
  

       I never wear matching socks.
jester, Mar 15 2002
  

       [DenholmRicshaw]: That's just fucking stupid.
bristolz, Mar 15 2002
  

       With the stump, bris?
neelandan, Mar 16 2002
  

       My wife and I have solved this problem. We use iron on numbered labels that you place inside, just below the top of the socks. The socks have a mate every time. See www.sock-mate.com for pictures. No more searching for a matching socks under just the right light. No more putting off this chore until last, now they are usually the first thing done when putting away the laundry.
clhsta, Sep 13 2003
  

       An industrial facility could take advantage of the economy of scale by centralizing the sock-matching operation. You could send in a load of socks, then be sent back a new matching set with socks fitting your preferred size and style. The massive bin sorter would match your orphan socks with those of people around the globe. Kind of like "We Are The World" for socks!
RobotVoodooPower, Oct 22 2006
  
      
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