Robotic furniture? Surely that’s just going on step too far? Well actually, no. Ori, an MIT Media Lab spinoff has designed robotic furniture that can adapt according to the user’s wishes.
It comprises a full suite of the usual bedroom or living room furniture, including a wardrobe, TV cabinet, sideboard, table, cubby holes and a roll out bed, that all move into place when you need them to. For example, the bed will appear when it’s time to go to sleep, while other parts, such as the table, will fold away when not in use.
Everything is installed along a track, meaning it slides smoothly into place when it’s needed or when it’s time to be stored away. The furniture configuration covers three walls, ensuring it makes the most of all the space in the room and is controlled either using a control panel, using Ori’s mobile app or a smart home system, such as Amazon Echo.
“We use robotics to … make small spaces act like they were two or three times bigger,” Ori founder and CEO Hasier Larrea told Phys.org
. “Around 200 square feet seems too small [total area] to live in, but a 200-square-foot bedroom or living room doesn’t seem so small.”
However, such a smart furniture system doesn’t come cheap. It starts a $10,000, although the first iteration is aimed at estate agents that need to make small space habitable. It’s currently only available i the US and Canada, but with a growing housing crisis in London, it probably won’t be long until the system takes a jump across the pond.
“These technologies can evolve for kitchens, bathrooms, and general partition walls. At some point, a two-bedroom apartment could turn into a large studio, transform into three rooms for your startup, or go into ‘party mode,’ where it all opens up again,” Larrea says. “Spaces will adapt to us, instead of us adapting to spaces, which is what we’ve been doing for so many years.”