With city rents skyrocketing to all-time new highs and studio apartments becoming the new one-bedroom in urban locations, the Changing Places team at MIT’s Media Lab decided to construct a robotic piece of furniture that transforms into a bedroom, living room, or dining room at the press of a button or a simple voice command.


MIT’s Smart-Home Ecosystem

The Ori System – named after Origami – is equipped with built-in sensors and morphs itself into all different types of space-saving shapes into order to maximize small living areas. Originally called CityHome, the team at MIT changed its name to Ori and replaced the gesture-based technology with voice-activation sensors – making it fully compatible with Amazon’s Alexa.

Price at $10,000 and only available to large-scale development companies, the Ori System is an introductory line of architectural robots inspired by designer Yves Béhar. Whether you want to eject the bed from its stored position, transform the sitting area into a 6-person dining room table, or simply move the oversize cabinet to make a mini-office, the Ori System morphs to desired activity.

“Cities are getting more and more packed,” Béhar told Business Insider. “My team of designers at Fuseproject come from all around the world, and housing them in a big, expensive city like San Francisco is a challenge.”

Designed for Small Living Spaces

The end goal is pretty obvious: to make smaller spaces feel less confined with transformer-like furniture. Equipped with state-of-the-art sensor technology and built-in motors, the Ori System instantly turns a studio apartment or condo into a functional living space. Powered by an intuitive iOS/Android companion app, the connected cabinet is controlled with a press of a button or a simple voice command.

Designed to integrate seamlessly with a connected home, MIT’s robotic furniture is one part of a bigger smart home ecosystem. Hoping to revolutionize interior design in heavily populated urban areas, MIT’s Changing Places team is “turning tight spaces into futuristic abodes,” according to a recent Engadget article.

“I think when technology enters the home, it has to be simple to use,” Béhar says. “It has to follow the flow of everyday life. In every way possible, Ori does that.”

With a growing number of IoT devices that include the Next Thermostat 3.0, Knocki, Smart Remote, or the Hydrao Smart Shower, having a connected piece of furniture that also speaks to Alexa adds to the movement towards a fully integrated smart home. MIT researcher Kent Larson told Engadget that he envisions an arsenal of apps that “let your further exercise control over your realm.”

Available to Large-Scale Development Co’s

The only drawback: Since the Ori System is targeted large-scale development corps in major cities (NY, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, D.C., Vancouver, Miami, and Columbus), you’ll most likely have to move into an apartment or condo run by one of these companies.

Sources: Engadget, Business Insider