Furniture design took a Sci-Fi twist with the release of the concept for robotic furniture, referred to as “Roombots.” In what can almost be described as a transformer, this latest innovation has lots of potential and functionality. However, it is not the only contender for future-based innovative design. Other conceptual designs that have been released also show promise for adaptation. What the Roombots have over the other conceptual designs is application. Though still in preliminary stages, the bots have already begun transforming, and the doors have been opened for possible uses of the furniture line.
One conceptual piece that was an award winner at a relaxation design contest came in the form of the “cloud chair.” Exactly as it sounds, the cloud chair has become one of the latest in the magnetic levitation technology designs. The conceptual cloud chair or sofa would achieve freestanding status by the repelling forces of magnets in a magnetic field. The magnetic force generated would counteract the forces of gravity resulting in what designer D.K. & Wei intended to be the ultimate simulated cloud comfort.
The latest on tech-furniture front have been the Roombots. The bio-robots have been compared to lego blocks in terms of functionality and operation. A given piece of Roombot furniture—comprised of two or more spherical robot blocks—can latch onto more robot blocks, as well as furniture pieces that have been altered so as to have docking locations. This means that the bots can be attached to a pre-existing chair so long as the legs of the chair have been modified to receive the docking mechanism of the Roombot block.
In addition to being capable of attaching to itself and other pieces of furniture, the Roombots also move. The spherical design was conceived to enable such mobility. The importance of mobility in biorobotics such as Roombot is to maximize its using potential. Scientists have speculated that the Roombots will be ideal for the elderly and disabled persons who are otherwise unable to complete tasks that involve a certain degree of mobility. The recent innovation exhibited by this furniture would make it such that one need not get up and grab the glass of water on the table across the room, rather, the Roombot would bring the table across the room.
The scientists that designed the Roombots acknowledge that there needs to be work put into programming the room in which the bot will operate. Thus far, they have come up with the idea that would use a tablet to “define the layout of a virtual room.” After that, the Roombot would be in the clear. The ultimate goal for the scientists has been to design a piece of technology, in this case furniture, that can adapt to meet people’s everyday needs.
The innovation of furniture design has shown an appeal to bio-robotics and physics. The merging of design with science opens the door to many new possibilities as far as functionality of furniture. The recent designs, both conceptual and applied, demonstrate a new way of thinking about inanimate objects such as desks and chairs. Hopefully the progress of Roombots will encourage more innovative projects in furniture from different designers.
By Courtney Anderson