In many parts of the world, the best you can hope for when it comes to a home or apartment is a very small space that can be challenging to furnish. The catch is that if you need things like a desk, bed, entertainment center, and sitting areas but you are in a tiny space normal furniture won’t cut it. This is where the Ori robotic homeware and furniture created at the MIT media lab comes in.
Ori gets its name from the Japanese word Origami and the name is fitting since the furniture is able to transform itself into different pieces for different needs. The MIT team worked with Swiss product designer Yves Behar, founder and CEO of Ori, and a research scientist called Hasier Larrea from MIT. The stated goal of the project was to fundamentally change the “experience and economics of the urban built environment.” Larrea said, “Ori’s systems make possible the effortless and magical transformation of interior spaces, providing the totally new experience of having our interior space intelligently conform to our activities, rather than our activities being forced to conform to our interior space.”
The heart of the Ori system is modular and mechatronic furniture that is able to move and transform using a wall mounted control panel. At the press of a button the furniture can move across the floor and turn into different pieces of furniture. Ori can also be controlled via a smartphone app without having to get off the couch. The goal was to make efficient furniture that is also aesthetically pleasing.
Behar said, “…While these micro living spaces enable developers to provide more housing options and allow renters and buyers affordability and a smaller carbon footprint, they clearly lack the need for life’s different accommodations that larger apartments provide. While some may view these small spaces as a necessity, a group of MIT engineers saw this as an opportunity – how do we maximize our use of these spaces, providing the experience of luxury living without the luxury of size? Better yet, what if your living space could physically transform to create any environment you need? We teamed up with Ori to design a system of robotic furniture: transformable units that can triple the usage of a given space.”
There is no word on availability or pricing of Ori just yet, but it certainly looks to be something with some serious cost associated.