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Lift-Bit transformable sofa, seating system is now available for pre-order

Lift-Bit. Your Shape-Shifting Sofa with a Digital Twist
Recliners can push back to go from chairs to a more supine seat, and pull-out sofas become beds. Having furniture with more than one function is nothing new, but using your app to control smart furniture like the Lift-Bit seems like the real future and now you can be part of it, as the digitally transformable sofa is open for pre-orders.

The Lift-Bit is an app-controlled couch that was created by a collaboration between international design firm Carlo Ratti Associati and Milanese fablab Opendot. (Carlo Ratti created an early prototype with Swiss furniture company Vitra in 2016.) “Lift-Bit is a modular, digitally reconfigurable furniture system that allows a sofa to seamlessly turn into a chair, a chaise longue, a bed, a lounge room, and a myriad of other configurations,” the developers said of the design.

A year on from its original prototype unveiling, that design has now officially entered production and you can pre-order one from the official website for $460 per module. They come in four color options: turquoise, yellow, red and blue and as the configurator shows, can be customized into a variety of shapes and styles — just like the original design promised.

The Lift-Bit is made up of several upholstered stools that are motorized and can raise twice as high or drop to half the original height. If you are standing in front of the Lift-Bit, you can control it by dangling your hand over individual stools, or choose from a list of pre-created configurations. The app would also let users make their own crazy designs. If the couch has been stationary for too long, it will start to rearrange itself, perhaps to make its shape more inviting to weary bones.

“Lift-Bit draws on the potential of Internet of Things technologies to transform our interior landscape, giving form to an endlessly reconfigurable environment,” said professor Carlo Ratti, director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a statement. “In the future, we could imagine an architecture that adapts to human need, rather than the other way around: A living, tailored space that is molded to its inhabitants’ needs, characters, and desires.”

Certain shapes would require fewer stools, but a room packed with them could take on the landscape of the Grand Canyon, Ratti imagines. If your seat can adjust to your preferences and settings when you unlock your car, it only makes sense to have something similar in our living rooms.

While we do have pricing data for the Lift-Bit, the developer has yet to reveal just when it plans to begin shipping. Presumably, it won’t be too long a wait considering it is now in full production, but considering pre-orders “reserve” your Lift-Bit, it may be worth putting down a pre-order sooner rather than later if you don’t want to wait.

Article originally published in December 2016 by Jenny McGrath. Updated on 04/06/2017 by Jon Martindale: Added pre-order and pricing information. An update was made to reflect that only a prototype was made with furniture company Vitra.  

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