Ori Transforms the Tiny Apartment Space with Robotics

Ori Transforms the Tiny Apartment Space with Robotics

In the age of tiny housing and Millennials flooding the rental market, Ori Systems looks to transform this space—quite literally, in fact—by creating what it calls “furniture with superpowers.”

The startup company was birthed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, using lessons garnered from robotics to create a revolutionary new breed of furniture and architecture, which aims to solve problems typically associated with smaller studios and apartments.

What are these problems? Ori’s CEO, Hasier Larrea, points to three major issues, all involving the concept of space.

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3 Major Spacial Issues in Multifamily

  1. First, division of space—how do we split up a small studio with limited square footage into multiple areas?
  2. Secondly, how do we free up space that is often taken up by large items, such as the bed?
  3. And finally, Ori strives to solve the problem of storage, as studios and tiny apartments often come short in these regards.

With Ori, Larrea says these three problems are resolved. “You have a system that divides the space, a system that hides the bed and a system that brings a ton of storage.”

Transformation and “Effortless” Connectivity

Ori technology resembles a large, movable wall in the center of the apartment that is controlled with just the touch of a finger, via what Larrea calls “the brain” of the system. As the wall moves, it creates space on demand, transforming a small space into something far more efficient.

As a result, a single studio apartment can feature a bedroom, kitchen, living area and office workspace without feeling cramped or claustrophobic.

“Think about how the paradigm changes when we are not adapting to a space, but the space is adapting to us,” says Larrea. “But when we think of transformation, it needs to be effortless.”

This idea of effortlessness is achieved not just through touch control but also integration with voice operated platforms and autonomous behavior learning. This includes Amazon Alexa, which in combination with other devices is able to set up routines. Through this level of connectivity, Ori’s intent is to deliver intelligence to the areas of one’s home where technology can truly be beneficial.

“The bed where I sleep. The office where I work. The dining area where I eat. What if those systems had intelligence? What if they could learn what’s going on and adapt to us?” asks Larrea.

Exploring and Innovating with Developers

Ori is currently working with developers in Boston—Skanska, Boston Properties and Samuels & Associates—as well as in areas such as Seattle, D.C. and Florida. The company is currently in its beta stage, testing this technology with renters in various cities, with a planned launch for the second quarter of 2017.

Ori can shift and transform the space of a tiny studio apartment.
Ori can shift and transform the space of a tiny studio apartment.

“There are a lot of value propositions there for a developer,” says Larrea. “Not only can they get rent premiums, but they can increase occupancy rates and decrease building costs.”

Additionally, this technology allows developers to increase unit counts when constructing a new building, since Ori can make a smaller apartment feel so much larger than it actually is. Where developers were once able to fit 15 units, they could now fit 20.

However, if you want to get on board with Ori as a partnered developer, you must adhere to its mentality of staying ahead of the curve.

“Many developers will tell us, ‘I want to see someone else do it first,” says Larrea. “But we are looking for explorers—those who are pushing the envelope.”

In this industry, pushing the envelope can usually pay off, especially when technology is involved. And for the multifamily market, it’s all about space and how to best utilize these areas.

This transformable apartment technology could just transform your business as well.

Check out next week’s Insights newsletter for an exclusive video tour and tech overview of Ori’s beta unit in Boston, MA. Subscribe here.

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About The Author

Greg Vellante is a staff writer and multimedia specialist at TecHome Builder, as well as a content coordinator for AE Ventures events. He has over a decade of experience writing for various publications on topics that range from cinema to editorials to home technology. His favorite technologies fall into the A/V and home entertainment realm, and he’s keeping a close eye on the rising trends in robotics and virtual/augmented reality. Greg resides in Boston, holds a degree in Media Studies from Emerson College and pursues screenwriting/filmmaking in his free time.

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