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MIT’s CityHome makes 200 square feet feel like a mansion

As more and more people choose to live in densely-populated urban areas, cities are becoming more and more crowded and living spaces are becoming ever more compact. As such, forward-thinking designers are beginning to embrace the trend and develop so-called “micro-dwellings” that aim to maximize space and efficiency. We’ve seen some pretty impressive small space designs in the past (check out TreeHugger.com founder Graham Hill’s awesome 400-square-foot pad), but this one –MIT’s CityHome– takes things to a completely new level.

Contrary to what the name might suggest, CityHome isn’t actually a living space itself. It’s more like a large, consolidated chunk of home essentials that allows you to maximize usable space in a small studio. Think of it like a murphy bed on steroids — it’s basically a closet-sized mechanical box that fits into an apartment and functions as a bed, work space, cityhomedining room table (with seating for six), a cooking range, closet, and multipurpose storage space. Additionally, the entire module is built on low-friction rollers, so it can easily be moved a few feet in any direction to extend or compress a given room.

Furthermore, as you’d expect from something designed by MIT students, CityHome is also motorized and can be controlled using Minority Report style gestures. Generally speaking, most micro apartments rely on hinges, rollers, and other fixtures that you expand or collapse manually, but CityHome is different. Want to pull out the bed? Just point your palm at the bed section and make a pulling motion backward. Need to adjust the lights? Simply change the position of your hand to adjust color temperature and brightness. With just a few motions, you can transform your dining room into dancehall, or turn your dancehall into an office.

Since CityHome is currently just a prototype, there’s no word on when it’ll be available to consumers, or how big the price tag will be if/when that day comes. That being said, however, the project’s lead researcher Kent Larson has clearly expressed that he intends to bring it to market through either a startup or a commercial sponsor. We’ll keep you posted on that front, but for the time being you can find out more here.

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