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Ori Robotic Furniture Transforms Studio
Apartments Into So Much More

Friday, June 2, 2017

Alexa’s involved of course

By Jenny Xie, CURBED

Big news in the transforming furniture world: Ori, an MIT spin-off designed with Yves Behar is officially launching preorders today, aiming at developers trying to make urban studio apartments much more flexible and appealing.

First announced last year, Ori is the most sophisticated “all-in-one” furniture system we’ve seen yet. In a nutshell: It’s a multi-functional module that serves different functions with different configurations, which can be controlled via a physical controller attached to the system, mobile app, or, because this is 2017, voice commands for the Amazon Echo. (Google Home and Apple Home integrations, as well as additional skills for the Alexa, are currently under development.)

“Hey Alexa, can you ask Ori to make the bed?” This might just be the line to catch everyone’s attention in the promo video below, which demonstrates an enticing array of spaces an Ori system can create in a tiny apartment—from a standard living area to a yoga studio to a “walk-in closet.”

Robotic console Close up of robotic console

The Ori prototype has been tested by Airbnb guests in Boston for over a year. In an interview with Curbed, Ori CEO and Founder Hasier Larrea says adjustments have been made based on their feedback, including raising the height of the bed and fine-tuning reliability and safety features (such as the bed knowing to stop expanding when it hits something.)

Made of poplar plywood, the Ori system comes in two colors (light and dark), two sizes (full and queen), and two orientations (one that expands to one side only, and another that expands on both sides to create two separate spaces in longer apartments.)

The system is flatpack and connects to the room itself in only two places: the outlet and a gliding track system essentially taped to the bottom edge of the room. This non-intrusive assembly makes it easy for developers to transform a regular rental into a smart one.

Smart desk

The whole system costs some $10,000 to put together (with most of the expense falling on the furniture rather than the technology). According to Maria Masi of Brookfield Property Partners, whose New York City property The Eugene already has an Ori system installed in a model studio, an Ori-equipped apartment could command hundreds more dollars in rent since it would be positioned as a studio that functions more like a furnished one-bedroom.

Model Ori systems are currently installed in modern apartment complexes like The Eugene in ten cities around the U.S. and Canada. Preorders are expected to be delivered later this year.

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