Ask any apartment dweller in a crowded city and they'll likely tell you space is among their biggest issues. Those living in even smaller studios know the battle all too well — some even shelling out monthly cash for storage units as a result just to make more room to live.
Boston-based start-up Ori is out to solve those problems with a system that combines robotics and apartment-friendly modular furniture to transform small spaces in seconds. Think of it as a kind of retractable Murphy bed on steroids.
The company's namesake Ori system is named for the Japanese word "origami," the art of folding paper, and literally does just that. The technology uses modular furniture and software that makes your furniture reconfigurable, transforming small spaces from living rooms into bedrooms and even workspaces with the push of a button. The system is designed for spaces between 300 and 500 square feet.
"We wanted to make spaces in homes, offices and hotels much more functional and efficient but also more intelligent by bringing robotics into play,"
"When you have so many people moving into the same place, you need to start being more efficient about how you use the spaces." Isn't it?
Unfortunately, you can't get this for yourself — Ori is only accepting pre-orders from large-scale development companies in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, DC, Vancouver, Miami and Columbus. Your best bet is to look for apartments with one in case you really like the idea of being able to customize your space.
The system is now in beta testing and is a business-to-business product. Ori is working with luxury developers to install the furniture in high-end rentals in Boston.
All of Ori's product is manufactured in the United States, and Larrea said the furniture is actually more expensive to make than the robotics. Assembly is also simple — the unit can be put together in just a day.The biggest challenge for this MIT team was making the system feel and look personal.
"We are robotics people and have created these amazing robots with amazing capabilities,but when you bring a system into a home, it can't look like a robot".
Beyond the comfort and life-enhancing varied accommodations, Ori creates financial value for renters or owners; a studio becomes a one bedroom, for example,. "The Ori system is also valuable for developers by immediately increasing the value of the home.
Fuseproject also came up with the name of the system and company, based on the Japanese word origami meaning "to fold".
Developers will be incorporating Ori systems into homes in Boston, Washington DC and Seattle starting this summer.
Pricing is not yet available, but the system is sold to real estate developers instead of consumers.Tenants, who might normally pay a monthly storage-unit fee, will be instead charged per month for having the Ori system in their apartments. The technology is also ready to be integrated into an apartment's Internet of Things ecosystem, syncing with any existing smart home or office device, like the Amazon Echo system, for example.
"We are trying to show you that your home can almost become an app."
"That is the idea — how to make spaces not only more functional but also intelligent. I call it furniture with superpowers."