IKEA has revealed its innovative Rognan robotic furniture, designed to minimize the compromises of small space living. Developed in collaboration with Ori, a Boston-based furniture start-up that grew out of a collaboration between MIT Media Lab students and designer Yves Behar and first caught our attention in 2016, the robotic furniture is set to first roll-out in Hong Kong and Japan next year.

With the goal to help improve increasingly cramped city living, the iconic Swedish giant is dedicated to incorporating tiny living concepts in its future designs. The design function and price point of the Rognan furniture will be targeted to residents of urban micro apartments or those wanting to live a small-footprint lifestyle.

"Cities are booming and at the same time living spaces are shrinking," says IKEA. "That's why IKEA is exploring flexible and innovative solutions that empower people to have big dreams for small homes."

The Rognan multi-purpose, robotic furniture platform that optimizes the use of small spaces or single-room living. Incorporating a double bed, work station, storage cupboards, wardrobe, media unit, bookshelf and sofa, the Rognan unit can transform as the day progresses and depending on its required use. Utilizing a simple touchpad interface, the unit's central core can move positions, creating an on-demand bedroom, walk-in closet or entertaining lounge.

Designed to squeeze into a single room, the unit can move back and forth with ease at the touch of a button, while eliminating the need for prior installation of floor tracks. The bed tucks away neatly in the unit's hidden lower compartment, allowing the room to transform between a bedroom or study/work space within seconds. The opposite side of the unit houses a media center with shelving space, storage and large sofa, providing all the necessities for a comfortable living room.

The versatile design and function of the Rognan also allows one side of the robotic central unit to be positioned against a wall when not in use, allowing users to create more space on either side of the unit when required. This means the unit can squeeze into micro apartments, transforming a studio space into a smart multi-zone home. Alternatively, the central unit can be positioned in the center, dividing a single room into two sections, with the added benefit of providing privacy to both zones.

"We have been working with developing small space living solutions for a long time, and we know that some of the biggest challenges in peoples' homes are storage and finding the place to do all the activities that you'd want to do in your home," says Seana Strawn, Product developer for new innovations at IKEA of Sweden. "This is especially the case in big cities where people have to make compromises in the functions of their homes. We wanted to change that."

According to Strawn, occupants using the Rognan system can enjoy an additional 8 sq m (86 sq ft) of living space, without compromising on storage space or everyday comforts.

"Instead of making the furniture smaller, we transform the furniture to the function that you need at that time," says Strawn. "When you sleep, you do not need your sofa. When you use your wardrobe, you do not need your bed etc."

Retail prices for IKEA's Rognan robotic furniture model are yet to be announced, but a commercial release is set for 2020 in Hong Kong and Japan, two obvious markets for such a product.

The video below provides a brief look at the Rognan.

Source: IKEA

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