Technology: Robot Furniture

At the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), the biorobotics lab is hard at work building “Roombots.” Essentially, Roombots are robots that are self-configurable; they can merge with furniture to create adaptable furniture for any home or office setting. Roombots have been envisioned by their designers to shift into classic furniture items, such as tables, chairs, and desks. The current design of Roombots modules resembles two dice stuck together. Each module has a battery, a wireless connection, and three motors. With each module measuring only 22 centimeters in length, designers believe that ten of them could combine to build a wide range of furniture and living items. Modules are able to combine thanks to coordination from algorithms on a computer. As for short-term goals, the designers want to create mobilized furniture to help people with reduced mobility. They would ultimately like to see less human interaction and have the modules transform into furniture smoothly. As for long-term…who knows! That is the beauty of technological innovation. No one can predict what will come in the next decade, and it is exciting to see what advances are made down the road.

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