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I'm looking for some direction on how to create a device that does the following: Imagine you have a yoga mat, I want a device that can roll it up and unroll it without a human intervening in the rolling process. I reliable this is a robotics forums but there doesn't appear to be a section for mechanical engineering so I'm posting my question here.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you explain the scenario a little more. Are you talking about a robot which can detect the mat, navigate towards it, pick it up, roll it up and take it away? Or something simpler? $\endgroup$ – Rocketmagnet Sep 4 '14 at 10:47
  • $\begingroup$ You want to build something on your own, or do you search a commercial product? $\endgroup$ – TobiasK Sep 4 '14 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ Ok let me explain in little more detail what I am trying to accomplish here. I have a steep driveway. I want to roll a traction mat so my car doesn't slip and slide when the driveway is icy (yea I could spray melting salt but I am an engineer and I think everything has a solution). There are traction mats out there but I don't want to leave it out when I go to work. I want a device that will unroll the mat (like a red carpet) and roll it back up $\endgroup$ – user2708543 Sep 11 '14 at 14:32
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    $\begingroup$ I've seen similar things on a larger scale for unrolling mats onto swimming pools. The mats serve to reduce moisture and thermal loss but the concept is the same. They have the advantage that the covers float on the water as they are rolled out but you might be able to find a commercial product to use for inspiration $\endgroup$ – Matthew Gordon Oct 4 '14 at 15:04
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Some inspiration from this leading robot

PR2 Autonomously Folding A Tshirt

PR2 Handling other tasks too

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  • $\begingroup$ That looks cool but Im looking for something simpler. Think of a motorized paper towel holder. The challenge I can think of right away is what mechanism would you use to "unroll" the paper towel. $\endgroup$ – user2708543 Aug 5 '14 at 13:23
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Could you start the rolling with some sort of scraping action, and use rollers to control it from there?

For example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xhbctEcAAA#t=90

The challenge would be making sure you stay oriented left/right to the mat being rolled.

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