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Sunday, December 12, 2010

IKEA´s nightmare Swiss Roombots

Forget IKEA flat-pack furniture think Roombots, modular robots to be used as building blocks for furniture that assembles itself,  that can change shape over time - a stool becoming a chair, a set of chairs becoming a sofa. Furniture that moves using actuated joints to different locations depending on the users needs. When not needed, the group of modules create a static structure such as a wall or a box.

Roombots are the robotics vision of researchers at the Biorobotics Lab, EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. The  project is funded by the Locomorph project and the Swiss National Center of Competence of Research in Robotics (NCCR). Preliminary studied were also funded by Microsoft Research Cambridge and EPFL.

2 comments:

Snake Oil Baron said...

The end table's running away. Bye-bye end table. LOL.

I wonder how it could make things like a sofa that need to be soft. This might be good for people with limited space who need to reconfigure their furniture for different uses but it would mean having a very neat and uncluttered lifestyle so your stuff doesn't fall all over the place when you reconfigure. Regular, single use furniture would still be a cheaper option so there would need to be lot of innovative uses developed to create a niche for this.

Offices would probably be the first environment to benefit; reconfiguring dividing walls and shelving in an open concept space could be useful. If this caught on it could spur companies to design appliances and fixtures which could meet multiple needs so as to augment the flexibility of the reconfigure-able room - like lamps with adjustable heights or digital whiteboards with attractive and colour changing frames to transform into wall art when the need arises.

Per-FlexibilityEnvelope.com said...

@Snake Oil Baron

>I wonder how it could make things like a sofa that need to be soft.
- No problem att all, first the system would adapt to your shape, as you sit in the sofa, to spread the load.
- Then it would respond to your movement appropriately, by counteracting the forces exerted, over time, being compliant, springy, instead of immediately which is essentially what a hard object is doing.

A sofa made this way would be supper comfortable, and adapted just for you, all the time. Imagine for instance some one sits down in your lap, making you heavier then usual. are you sitting up, or laying down etc

>This might be good for people with limited space who need to reconfigure their furniture for different uses
- We all have limit space in the sense that we do not have unlimited space in all categories, imagine for instance having a party for some friends in your home, when preparing the meal you need a big kitchen, during the party you need one big room, and big table, then when the party is over, some of your guests might nee to stay over for some reason and then you need many small quest bed rooms. Few of us can afford to have all this, but if we could adapt what we have to what we need this would be no problem.

>but it would mean having a very neat and uncluttered lifestyle so your stuff doesn't fall all over the place when you reconfigure.
- A very goo point, not only o you have what you nee when you nee it, you do NOT have what you do NOT need. I have not thought about that.

>Regular, single use furniture would still be a cheaper option
- Not necessarily, there are many forces driving down the price of a SRCMR solution.

>...so there would need to be lot of innovative uses developed to create a niche for this.
- That is certainly true!

>Offices would probably be the first environment to benefit...
- Absolutely I think so to! and early adopters homes.