As more and more people move into cities, living spaces will no doubt become smaller and smaller. Some maintain that micro-apartments will become a big part of our cities. Designs that make the most out of these tiny apartments will be crucial, but one of the big complaints about multifunctional spaces and their transformer furniture is that they require extra manual effort, like having to use a bit of elbow grease to fold away a bed or pull out a sofa.
Of course, it could all be a lot easier if it was automated and controlled via a smartphone app, as in this programmable robotic system created out of a collaboration between US-based design studio Fuseproject and MIT's Media Lab. Dubbed Ori, an allusion to the foldable capabilities of origami forms, the system makes a small space much more functional. Watch it transform auto-magically:
According to Dezeen, Fuseproject came up with the overall design scheme, while MIT researchers developed and engineered the actuators that do all the heavy lifting, in addition to the underlying electronics and software that enable the Ori system's Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity.
The system is conceived of as both a partition and an all-in-one unit for spaces under 300 square feet, consisting of closet, storage, a desk that can retract, and a bed that can glide away effortlessly underneath in the morning with the touch of a button.
Using the unit's control pad or the smart phone app, the whole unit itself can be moved from one end of the apartment to the other, converting the bedroom into a living room or workspace during the day, and coming back to its original position at night to make place for the bed. All this can be done ahead of time, when the occupant is not even at home, using the smartphone app.
Other aspects can be personalized down to minute details, says Fuseproject founder Yves Béhar:
What Ori does is to maximize the functionality of a space; with robotic technology it creates a beautiful and transformative living and working environment that is unlike anything the world has seen.
Each room can be preset for a space, including preferred integrated lighting, so that one touch on the physical interface or on the corresponding app will morph the room.
What seems to distinguish the Ori system from other similar one-off designs is that its is built with modular elements that could be scaled up, depending on the size of the project. The team has already come up a number of interesting alternative designs to fit different scenarios, though there's no information on pricing so far.
As Béhar puts it, there's a bigger vision for Ori:
Beyond the comfort and life-enhancing varied accommodations, Ori creates financial value for renters or owners; a studio becomes a one bedroom, for example. The Ori system is also valuable for developers by immediately increasing the value of the home.
It's a great concept that could solve the hassle of transforming everything manually, given that it doesn't break down or get hacked, of course. There's no doubt though that a transforming, automated system like this could be what makes small urban apartments of the future a lot more functional and enjoyable to live in. More over at Fuseproject, MIT Media Lab and Ori Systems.