This isn’t the first time seeing robotic furniture or Ori Living’s furniture efforts. Glad something is on the way.


IKEA has started a collaborative effort with American furniture start-up company, Ori Living to develop a shape-shifting robotic furniture system called Rognan. The aim is to create a more suitable living environment in compact housing units and can be controlled through a touchpad, enabling the system to slide across a room, separating it into two spaces. It also includes a couch, bed and a desk that can be pulled out as needed. Rognan was showcased earlier this week at Democratic Design Days, during IKEA's annual conference and will be launched in Hong Kong and Japan in 2020, with no set price.


Rognan splits a room into two and makes it into a more suitable living space. (Image Credit: IKEA)

The robotic system retracts on wheels when a button is pressed, providing an additional eight square meters of living space, transforming a room into a bedroom or a walk-in closet. Rognan relies on a combination of mechanics, electronics and software that enables the system to move furniture around, which is also familiarly used in household products like lawnmowers, vacuum cleaners powered by robots and many more household appliances. 


The systems works by mapping out the living space via machine learning algorithm when it moves across the floor when it's first being used, generating an accurate image of the living area. After the image has been created, the system compares it to any object that may obstruct its path, such as a human or a piece of furniture.


The transformation of living spaces is unique and can include a bedroom or living room. (Image Credit: IKEA)

Rognan was designed for those who live in small spaces in a heavily populated area. With an estimated 1.5 million people coming into the world every year, and cities becoming more populous, humans are depending on solutions that will make their living situation more desirable.


Ori first came out with a commercial robotic interior product two years ago, in collaboration with MIT's Media Lab and designer Yves Behar. Their partnership with IKEA was brought up at the same time to release a product that could be sold in many IKEA stores worldwide.


Rognan, as a prototype, will be tested out in Hong Kong and Japan in 2020, expanding to other regions that have a heavy populace, making the product more suitable for those in urban areas. The product could be adapted in the US for a bed that's larger than 120-centimeters, the more common bed sizes found in East Asia.


In the past, Ori developed the Pocket Closet, an expandable walk-in closet, a duplication of MIT's Studio Suite. Ori is also working on a project called Cloud Bed, a bed that descends from above the room when a human needs to sleep.


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