Check out this apartment with ‘robotic furniture,’ and walls that move

It’s no fun living in a cramped apartment, but what if you could make it feel considerably larger with the press of a button?

The remarkable “robotic furniture” system, designed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab spinoff Ori in partnership with Swiss designer Yves Behar, incorporates an automated system that lets you quickly transform a “giant closet” for different uses, including a workspace, dining table, bed, entertainment center, and storage space.

The system first came to our attention in 2014, when it was known as CityHome. The team released a refined version last year.

The exciting news is that it’s now ready for pre-order, with the initial production run of 1,200 units heading to major cities across the United States, among them New York City, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston. Delivery is expected to begin toward the end of 2017, though only property developers can purchase the system for now.

So you what do you get for the $10,000 that the system is thought to cost? Well, it’s essentially a giant, highly functional wooden box. You control it either via a smartphone app, the small control panel fixed to the unit, or by calling out instructions to smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo — “Alexa, tell Ori to open my bed.”

It’s a clever and rather cool way to make the best use of space in a small apartment, with the unit even able to move across the room to create a bedroom, living room, or work area. When you start your day, your bed slides into the bottom of the unit, freeing up lots of space in the process. The press of a button will then shift the unit slowly along, creating a larger space around your sofa and TV to make a living room. You can work at a desk that emerges from inside. You can display stuff on it, store stuff in it, and hang stuff on it. And when your day’s done, your bed — in the same messy state that you left it in that morning — slides back out.

The unit comes in two sizes — “full” for a full-size bed and “queen” for a smaller bed — and is flat-packed and assembled on site. It can be installed in both existing buildings and new projects, and it’s electric powered, so just plug it in and you’re good to go.

Speaking about the unique system last year, Behar said, “Many people living in urban environments no longer have the luxury of space, or they are choosing to live in a smaller footprint.

“What Ori does is to maximize the functionality of a space; with robotic technology it creates a beautiful and transformative living and working environment that is unlike anything the world has seen.”