Robotic Furniture is the Future of Living Small in Big Cities

robotic furniture

As the housing shortage increases in urban areas, more and more people are downsizing. From micro-apartments in Seattle to the explosion of the tiny house market, getting creative with less space isn’t just a trend, it’s becoming a necessity. Enter Ori, an entire apartment’s worth of furniture in one big robot.

Developed in conjunction with the MIT media lab, Ori was designed by Yves Behar and his company Fuseproject. The name Ori is a hint as to just what this system is. Derived from the word “origami,” the Ori system can be transformed to suit the needs of the user. It is a bedroom, closet, office, living room, and storage space all in one. Simply plug it into a standard electrical outlet and you’re ready to transform your small studio into a multitude of different rooms.

Powered by modular robotics, the entire system glides along a track, revealing the hidden components as it moves back and forth. Easy to use buttons let you select which mode you need. Bed mode reveals a trundle bed, storage shelves, and closet. Lounge mode tucks away the bed, opening up the space to allow for TV-watching and entertaining; there is even a slide-out shelf that can be used as a desk and office space. Wardrobe mode allows you to access the closet and all of the built-in storage areas.

The Ori system is available in full or queen sizes (referring to the size of bed that comes with it). Each option offers abundant storage, with the queen system providing extra shelving and a larger desk. Ori arrives flatpacked and is assembled on site, making installation a breeze. Don’t worry about your electric bill skyrocketing as you move Ori throughout the day. The system uses about one tenth the power of a hair dryer.

Taking the futuristic concept of robotic furniture a step further, Ori can be controlled with Amazon Echo or Google Assistant, allowing you to simply tell the system which mode to be in. And what happens to your electric powered robot furniture should the power goes out? Ori will automatically switch to manual mode, allowing you to move the unit back and forth by pulling or pushing it.

Currently, Ori is only available in select cities in the United States and Canada for large-scale developers, but the company is working hard to expand. It’s a system that’s sure to be in high demand as urban populations continue to grow while housing options dwindle.