We've all seen "The Japanese Way of Folding T-Shirts," or at least, according to YouTube, 2.8 million of you have. A lesser 1.2 million of you have watched "How an Engineer Folds a T-Shirt," which I won't embed here because it was apparently edited by an engineer (it's over one minute in length for a ten-second payoff). Instead here's an abbreviated version:
This guy upgraded the cardboard with K'NEX robotics:
This student made one for his science fair, and apparently designed it to keep his roommate awake.
Then we get into industrial machines, but frankly, this one doesn't seem that much more efficient than the previous two.
Then we get up to the Cadillac of folding machines. This Thermotron adds that little cardboard rectangle for stiffening and bags it at the end.
The thing I'd really like to see, and for which there is no video available, is how the NYC Chinatown drop-off laundries fold shirts. You give them a sack of laundry and it comes back the size of a brick; they're somehow able to collapse cotton fibers on a molecular level.