The future is tiny. At least in many of the world’s most vibrant urban centres, where land for new construction is non-existent or disappearing, and both rental and purchase prices are climbing. In these cities, micro condos and tiny apartments can offer a more affordable solution, albeit often at the expense of furniture and storage.
Ori, a robotic furniture system developed by MIT Media Lab and Fuseproject‘s Yves Béhar, promises a solution. First announced in 2016 and now available for purchase (by real estate developers, not consumers, in select North American cities), Ori is an all-in-one furniture unit that, when inserted in a small living space, serves as a work desk, closet, bedroom and storage space.
Ori is available in a full- or queen-size bed configuration. Both offer retractable beds, abundant storage, a media console and a pull-out work station. The queen version has the added feature of a walk-in closet, accessible when the bed is tucked into the unit.
Press ‘Bed Mode’ to have the bed emerge, press ‘Wardrobe Mode’ to retract the bed and access clothing storage, and press ‘Lounge Mode’ to move Ori’s bed side to the adjacent wall, opening up the space for entertaining and relaxing.
Because the system comes flat-packed and requires only an AC plug outlet and a track that is taped to the floor, Ori is a plug-and-play unit. An internal 120 watt AC/DC power supply runs the whole system. If the power goes out during a storm, Ori switches to manual mode, where the user can push and pull to access its different functions.
It should come as no surprise that the robotic furniture unit boasts iPhone and Android integration, as well as Amazon Alexa functionality. Users can download mobile apps to remotely control the configuration of their Ori, or use voice commands with Alexa to shift Ori modes without moving from the couch.
Developers interested in placing Ori units in their projects can preorder now, for US$10,000 a pop. There’s no word yet on when they might be available to renters and homeowners.