In the future, cars will drive themselves. Clothing will clean itself. And if some engineers have it their way, furniture will also make itself. Self assembling tables are in the news today, but they're not the first home decor that puts itself together. To help you make the most of your home with the least amount of effort, we've assembled a handy catalogue of the latest in futuristic furniture:
Ah, flat-packed furniture. It’s cheaper to ship and easy to get home, but can be so difficult to assemble that couples’ therapists even use it as a kind of relationship-testing gauntlet. Now, MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab has collaborated with Wood-Skin, an Italian design studio, to bring you the Programmable Table. It operates on many of the same principles found in origami, Wired’s Liz Stinson reports, using tessellation to fold flat, then pop into place.
Or perhaps you’d rather have a robot build your furniture for you? VICE’s Meghan Neal reports that a team of Swiss robot researchers has created Roombots, a series of robotic modules that could perform household tasks—including assembling that pesky end table—in the future.
Or, what if furniture could grow instead of being put together? That’s the concept behind smart-foam technology developed by Carl de Smet, a Belgian engineer. The BBC’s Dougal Shaw and Nastaran Tavakoli-Far report that de Smet is close to figuring out how to make furniture from shape-memory polyurethane. Just open the box and it will grow and expand until it’s a functional object for your home.