MIT’s $10,000 furniture downsizes your home budget, but tries to make it worthwhile

Mariella Moon, writing for Engadget:

A few years ago, MIT designed a piece of furniture worth $10,000 — not because it’s made of luxury materials, but because it can transform at the press of a button. Now, that piece of robotic furniture called “Ori Systems” is available for pre-order, but only to large-scale development companies. Originally called CityHome, Ori is a single unit that looks like a large wooden cabinet meant for small homes, condos and apartments.

The current Ori has a control interface with buttons you can push to eject the bed, to slide the bed inside the unit and to move the cabinet to make more space for the desk on the other side. Too lazy to stand up? You can also do all those things through Ori’s accompanying app or by using voice commands through Alexa.

Multi-faceted, ultra-customisable objects sound good on paper but are rarely good in practice. Even an act of opening up a sofa bed is only done as a necessity. Components in tower PCs (of non-geeks) are hardly ever replaced until necessary, and even Google’s modular Project Ara smartphone was scrapped.

At $10,000, I see more value in a larger studio.

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