So, we've all – just about – got used to asking Alexa what the weather's going to be like, and we might even have progressed on to getting a smart assistant to turn on a coffee machine via a smart plug. But what about asking Alexa to rearrange the furniture at home?
Sounds far fetched, right? It's not. And not only that, it's going to be Ikea furniture that does the voice-command reshuffling. Yup, the Swedish home store has just announced plans to pilot a series of robot-powered furniture, designed to save space in small homes, from 2020.
Say what now? The system, called Rognan, has been developed in collaboration with American furniture startup Ori Living, and it's a large unit that is remote controlled via a wall unit by either an app on your smart phone or with your voice on an Alexa-enabled device. Rognan contains a bed, desk, and couch combination, that can slide around a room, dividing up the space and transforming it into two living spaces at your bidding.
The thinking behind this new innovation? 'Cities are booming and at the same time living spaces are shrinking,' an Ikea spokesperson says. 'More and more people are living and moving into cities where approximately an extra 1.5 million people join the urban population every week. This mass urbanisation is accelerating and creates heavily populated cities that are at the same time consuming both land and resources at an unsustainable pace. Ikea wants to create a better everyday life for the many people, enabling them to create their dream homes in small spaces.'
So how does it work? Rognan is built on to Ori’s robotic platform, and works with Ikea’s Platsa range of modular storage furniture. It’s also compatible with their Tradfri line of cabinet and wardrobe smart lighting. Ikea claims the Rognan can save an extra eight square metres of living space. That might not sound like much, but if you live in a tiny flat, it could make all the difference.
The new piece is set to be launched in Hong Kong first as a pilot run. More details about the Rognan furniture are expected to be announced later this summer so we will keep you posted on this futuristic furniture as details arrive. In the meantime, keep up with the latest home tech on The Hub, our jargon-free, no nonsense approach to smart home tech.