With more people moving to cities, living spaces are getting smaller and smaller. There often isn’t enough room to place furniture and still live comfortably. IKEA is looking to change that by way of robotics.
The company is teaming up with Boston based startup Ori to develop ROGNAN. Its robotic furniture that can adapt to the limitations of any space. Unveiled at IKEA’s Democratic Design Days conference, the furniture is a combination of Ori’s robotic platform and IKEA’s Platsa storage solution.
Robotic Furniture Shape Shifts Thanks to AI
The furniture uses robotics to shapeshift to create more flexible living areas in smaller homes. Users just press a button to turn a living room into a bedroom or a walk-in closet into a child’s playroom. Depending on the configuration ROGNAN can provide an extra 85 square feet.
The system uses mechanics, electronics and software to create a moving bank of furniture. The AI initially creates a map of the space by moving a few times around the room. Thanks to machine learning, it then figures out the best configuration to fit the space. When moving, the smart furniture also takes into account elements in the room such as a person sitting, a pet, or another piece of furniture.
“Every floor is different, so you need a product that’s smart enough to know this and make a map of the floor,” said founder and CEO of Ori, Hasier Larrea.
ROGNAN To Be Released in Hong Kong and Japan in Early 2020
Ori initially developed their robotic furniture about two years ago working with MIT’s Media Lab and designer Yves Behar. At the same time, the company also partnered with IKEA to come up with a product that could be sold in stores. ROGNAN will initially be released in Hong Kong and Japan in early 2020 with plans to expand to other regions.