Ori Systems brings the robotic furniture of the future to apartments today

The Jetsons’ fictional (and functional) home of the future is one step closer to reality with the launch of the first product from Ori Systems, an all-in-one robotic dresser, desk and bed product.

Showrooming in luxury real estate developments all over the country, Ori is debuting its new, modular, and gorgeous-looking furniture that enables city-dwellers to do more with less space (I want one. Now.)

The product of research from MIT’s famous Media Lab, Ori launched in 2015 as a way to spin out research being conducted by MIT professor Kent Larson and graduate student Hasier Larrea.

Collaborating with the rockstar designer Yves Béhar, and building off of research that Larrea and Larson had worked on for four years, Ori’s combined bed/storage/workspace units were designed to met the needs of folks who are trying to do more in increasingly cramped urban spaces.

Taking their cue from the Urban Land Institute’s blockbuster study, “The Macro View on Micro Units,” Ori’s founders set out to design something that could be modular and take advantage of the latest technologies to make space saving as easy for urbanites as possible.

Ori’s got a retractable bed that can slide in or out at the push of a button from a wall mounted controller, an app on a smart phone, or by using a skill the company has programmed into Alexa.

The question for Larrea was how to bring the principles of the robotics he’d worked on for years as an electrical engineer into architecture. “We decided with CityHome [now Ori], that the researchers themselves would be the ones that would bring this to market,” Larrea tells me.

Looking at what and how to design its first product, Larrea says that he and his co-founder wanted to tackle three problems.

“The first was space… because its difficult to have two simultaneous activities going in a small space… the second was the damn bed and where to put it… and the third one is storage… there’s never enough storage,” in a studio apartment, Larrea says.

Made from a poplar plywood, the system is lightweight and sturdy. Although it’s electrical, if the power goes out, the system is wheeled and lightweight enough that people can change the configuration of the furniture manually.

Ori Systems furniture is designed to be modular and as close to flat pack as possible. It’s not impossible to envision this as something you buy from the coolest Ikea on the planet, but unfortunately, consumers will have to wait a while before an Ori Systems product will show up on any store shelves.

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For now the company is partnering with big name real estate developers to bring the furniture to market and really show off what Ori’s crazy robot furniture can do.

The company is announcing pre-orders today and will showcase 1,000 systems across the country.

Systems start at a hefty price tag of around $10,000. Surprisingly, Larrea says that the biggest cost isn’t the robotics in the furniture, but the cost of the furniture itself. The Ori-equipped studio apartments in core cities like San Francisco, New York and Boston will rent for roughly $3,000 a month, Larrea says.

Here’s a list of the cities and buildings that are going to have Ori Systems in them:

  • Boston, MA – Hines at the Meriel Marina Bay, Samuels & Associates at the Continuum and Skanska at the Watermark Seaport
  • Chicago, IL – Tandem Development’s MODE Logan Square Apartments
  • Columbus, OH – Crawford Hoying’s Bridge Park
  • Harrison, NJ – DeBartolo Development’s Steel Works
  • Miami, FL – ZOM USA’s Monarc at Met3
  • New York, NY – Brookfield Property Partners L.P.’s The Eugene
  • San Francisco, CA – UDR Apartments’ Channel Mission Bay
  • Seattle, WA
  • Washington DC – Valor Development’s The Vintage
  • Vancouver, BC – Bosa Properties’ Bluesky Chinatown

By rolling out through property developers, real estate companies can show off that they can have more price per square foot by pitching an Ori System, and Ori can get initial products in the hands of customers.

“Think about it as an appliance… an appliance for space,” says Larrea. “This changes the design paradigm completely. We came from a paradigm where we had to adapt to spaces instead of having spaces that adapt to us… We consider ourselves the brains and the brawn for developing the spaces of the future.”