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I would spend $10K to furnish my apartment with MIT’s robot furniture

I would spend $10K to furnish my apartment with MIT’s robot furniture


Making small space living easier

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Ori Systems
Photo via Ori Systems

Back in 2014, MIT debuted CityHome, a solution for tiny living spaces with the ability to pack several home necessities into a single, movable modular unit. Today, the concept — now renamed Ori Systems, after the Japanese art of origami — is available for preorder at $10,000 in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and other major US and Canadian cities.

A collaboration between Fuseproject’s Yves Béhar and MIT Media Lab, Ori Systems, comes in two sizes, “Ori Full” and “Ori Queen,” and for now, it’s only available for preorder by real estate developers, with delivery beginning toward the end of this year. The Ori Systems prototype has been tested by Airbnb guests in Boston for the past year, and model Ori Systems are currently installed in apartment complexes in 10 US and Canadian cities, including The Eugene in New York.

Hey Alexa, can you ask Ori to make the bed?

Both sizes of the automated system include a bed, workstation, drawers, a closet, and storage, but the Queen version comes with a couch. The Ori Systems are powered through a standard AC plug connection, and elements can be controlled via the physical Ori control interface on the side of the unit, an app, or via voice command with Alexa. (“Hey Alexa, can you ask Ori to make the bed?”) Ori Systems are also constructed out of lightweight poplar plywood and on wheels, meaning the unit is easy to manually configure and move in case of a power outage.

$10,000 for a single unit appears extravagant at first blush, but purchasing all the pieces of furniture Ori Systems houses individually would already run the average home owner thousands. (A medium-range IKEA bed, mattress, and bedding, for example, could cost around $1,000 alone.) Plus, I don’t know about you, but I can’t command my bed to do anything, let alone put itself away. It’s also likely that the price tag is mutable: if Ori Systems proves the market after their first run, costs could begin to go down as manufacturing scale increases.

In the first production run, 1,200 units will be produced, and the company hopes to expand to other countries in the near future, saying it “acknowledge[s] that the need for new urban solutions is a global challenge.” With micro apartments and rising real estate costs becoming a normative reality in major urban markets like San Francisco, New York, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, Ori Systems comes at a time when many are seeking (and need) new, innovative ways to do more with less living space... like commanding your furniture to bring your glass of wine to you.