Fashion: Hosiery: Socks: Sorting
Sock Monster   (+9, -3)  [vote for, against]
Art exhibit and AI/robotics experiment

I've got to admit it... I've let my socks get out of control. They've nearly taken over. Like a garden that has become overgrown, I think I may have reached the point where I need to get rid of the whole lot and start again. The trouble is that, once socks become separated, they may enter the wash independent of each other and bleach/streatch/wear at different rates, making a succesful reunion of previously paired socks nigh on impossible.

The Sock Monster would be a huge perspex machine with a hopper at one end and a small kiosk selling pairs of second-hand socks at the other. In the middle would be a washing machine, tumble dryer and lots of robot arms and measuring devices... and a furnace. A sock monster definitely needs a furnace.

You would arrive at the gallery with your odd socks (bringing a lonely sock might be the admission price of the exhibit) and put it into the hopper. The sock is picked up by a robot arm and analysed by colour, texture and smell. Smelly socks are put straight into the furnace. The remainder are matched to similar coloured socks of similar materials and are washed together.

Once washed and dried, the socks are categorised by as many attributes as the machine can measure: length, thickness, overall colour, colour variation, pattern, texure, dry weight, wet weight, and so on. Socks with too many holes join their many friends in the furnace which is used to provide 0.01% of the power that the Sock Monser requires. Socks that match to within a certain tolerance are termed a pair, stitched with the gallery's logo, barcoded and dispensed into the kiosk where they can be sold to the gallery visitors.
-- st3f, Feb 10 2007

trade-a-sock www_2etrade-a-sock_2ecom
Rayford-Steele's lower tech human approach [st3f, Feb 10 2007]

Homing Socks Homing_20Socks
andreuk's decentralised approach to the problem. [st3f, Feb 10 2007]

Barcoded Socks barcoded_20socks
[st3f, Feb 10 2007]

Sifl and Olly
[jaksplat, Feb 10 2007]

I think that the socks with too many holes should be converted into puppets and used in tv spots to advertise the sock monster.
-- jaksplat, Feb 10 2007

Given that smell analysis precedes washing, I do not think many of my socks would escape the furnace.
-- bungston, Feb 10 2007

Bun for the laugh.

A prime example of my O.C.D. would be my sock drawer. I change my socks at least twice if not three or four times a day. I don't have a good reason other than I just hate the way socks feel after five or so hours. So I buy only 3 kinds of socks, black ones (all the same style, brand, and material) for work, white tube socks (all the same style material and brand) for casual, and low cut white (all the same style, brand and material) for the gym. That way, there are only three kinds of socks to separate after doing my laundry. You could say it's a lot of work for a small convenience, but I, for one, can't stand wearing mis-matched socks. Crazy huh?
-- Pac-man, Feb 10 2007

Why this obsession with having a sock on your left foot which looks the same as the one on your right foot? I would consider that to be rather OCDish.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 10 2007

My other half used to make sock puppets for our son. It didn't go down well. A common sound around our house was "No! Nooo sock hand mummy!".
-- wagster, Feb 10 2007

I can see the logo now...

[My folks went to see the sock monster, and all they brought me was this pair of used socks.]
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Feb 11 2007

i myself have a few spares that could use pairing. [+]
-- lilsis, Feb 12 2007

//but I, for one, can't stand wearing mis-matched socks. Crazy huh?\\

If that's crazy, I don't want to be sane. Also, no way I'd wear a pair of second hand mis-matched socks, but I would like to watch this monster in action.
-- Noexit, Feb 13 2007

Just buy more socks from the store, no need for a sock monster. Quit being a tightwad with your money and buy more socks or don't lose/wreck them.
-- quantum_flux, Feb 14 2007

i like the idea. my colored socks get mismatched by asychronous washing all the time, and it's annoying as all heck. at least if i could donate the socks it wouldn't be quite as frustrating. this also has some amusing potential when you can get pairs of previously white socks that have been accidentally dyed some other color by crayons, etc. in the wash.

and what's the big deal with used clothes (even socks)? they're washed! get over your prudish mental block about 'touching something someone else touched'. you use public toilets, yes? that's worse than wearing someone else's *washed* socks.
-- Agamemnon, Feb 15 2007

random, halfbakery