Science fiction writers have toyed with the concept of robots in the home for decades, but none envisioned anything quite like the latest design trend. Robotic furniture sees intelligence being built into the very fabric of our homes: in our desks, our wardrobes, and even our beds. The result is a wholesale transformation of our functional living spaces. But it's not just a matter of utility. Robotic furniture is ushering in a revolution, and it's doing so in style.
What is robotic furniture?
At its core, robotic furniture is a catch-all term for multipurpose equipment and fittings that are able to significantly adapt to the needs of the user. These designs are inspired by origami, folding intelligently to optimise use of space. They may be utilitarian and efficient, but they’re also beautiful.
In its simplest form, robotic furniture has been around for quite some time. Basic bureaus or desks with drawers – essentially work spaces posing as neat cupboards – have offered multifunctionality for hundreds of years. The latest designs, however, operate on an entirely different scale.
MIT's Ori is a US group pioneering robotic furniture. Its newest items incorporate beds, wardrobes, shelving and even a desk into one tidy package, controlled through a slick and user-friendly electronic interface.
Where is it best implemented?
The driving force behind this remarkable strain of design is a desire for space. Cities across the world tend to be suffocated of space, and the rising cost of property is only serving to reduce the size of apartments. The efficiency of robotic furniture creates additional room without compromising on the functionality of a home.
The technology will help overcome the issue of areas in the home being unable to serve as dedicated spaces, for example when an office also needs to be used to house guests. Jack of all trades, master of none, as they say.
To date, small studio apartments in city centres have had no choice but to serve simultaneously as kitchen, living room, bedroom, dining room and study. Robotic furniture will conveniently store away the equipment that is not in use in order to minimise clutter. This will allow urban residents to live in one area at a time with less effort.
Who benefits from it?
In the future, robotic furniture will become commonplace. For now, however, it remains a pioneering technology, available only in luxury markets for wealthy individuals who tend to occupy modern, urban spaces.
International property experts Engel & Völkers expect robotic furniture to prove popular with landlords eager to achieve a favourable return on their rental properties. Browse our blog at E&V for more tips on how to make the most of your investments, or visit one of our branches across 32 nations to receive advice on selling or purchasing a home.