Furniture start-up Ori Systems, driven by the belief that living space, particularly in cities, has become “too expensive to be static,” questioned itself how can it install a living room, bedroom, closet and office into a 200-300 sq ft (19-28 sq m) apartment? The solution is shape-shifting robotic furniture.
Well, you must know that Ori is not the only company on the lookout for an answer to this challenge. For instance, we have seen Italy-based Clei produce a line of high-aesthetic modular and transformable furniture in the past while Casa Collection is seeking to maximize the use of space with furniture units that do without moving parts.
Ori has spun-out from MIT’s Media Lab and is partnered with designer Yves Béhar. The primary objective of the firm is to build a single unit that is capable of converting a micro studio or a one bedroom apartment into a living space with multiple different rooms, based on the changing activities of the occupant. And in order to do so, it brought together robotics, architecture and design.
With no requirement for tracks on the floor, the resulting unit is capable of moving back and forth on wheels at the touch of a button. Attached to the neighbouring wall is a single linear actuator which pulls the unit along. This is run by a traditional electric motor that is powered by a mains outlet. The unit is known to utilize just a quarter of the power of a hairdryer while moving.
While one side of the unit houses a media center, with shelving space, storage and a bench, the other side houses a closet, a fold-out desk, more storage space and a bed that slides out from underneath the unit.
A flat profile on one side implies that the unit can be placed against a wall while not in use, thus successfully creating a larger room on the other side, which houses the media center. When moved away from a wall, the unit splits a space into two rooms.
Selecting a preset profile for its integrated lighting is also possible depending on the features of the unit that are in use. This can be accomplished either by way of the physical interface on the unit or by means of an accompanying mobile app.
According to Ori, the modular robotic technology and intelligent systems that are used could be beneficial in a variety of other environments where space may be at a premium, suggesting office, hospitality, retail, education and medical settings.
While the full product availability is expected from early next year, the first commercial residential solution by Ori are going to be exhibited by building developers in a handful of US cities in the coming months. Despite the fact that Ori is producing its own line at present, it mentioned that partnerships with other companies are possible in the future.
Although the price has not been made public yet, however, Ori has informed Gizmag that the robotics are comparatively cheap and so the cost of a piece of furniture into which the technology is integrated will be very much down to the quality of the furniture itself.
Check out Ori’s first unit below: