In most cities, the rising price of real estate far outstrips residents’ incomes, forcing them into smaller and smaller living and working spaces. We have seen numerous examples of reconfigurable furniture — such as a line of modular furniture and this convertible desk — that enable users to maximize their limited room. Now, taking this trend to the next level, New York-based robotics company Asmbld has created Project DOM Indoors: a team of tiny robots that live beneath the floor, which rearrange small modules into entire reconfigurable rooms in minutes.
Asmbld install the system into an open space on top of the existing floor, and robots operate in a void under the floor. They orient themselves using light sensors and markers on the surface. As the user creates a design for a room layout or piece of furniture on their smartphone, it automatically communicates the design to the robots. Asmbld compares it to a real-life Minecraft, with the battery-powered robots using five inch tiles instead of pixels to build life-size walls and elevations one piece at a time.
Asmbld envisions the technology being used in co-working spaces, or enabling businesses to make better use of large conference rooms that are empty the majority of the time. Eventually, it could also be used in homes, letting residents switch their space between bedroom and living room on a daily basis. While the initial financial cost is large — around USD 12,000 for a 500 sq ft room — the owner would make significant savings on labor costs, and the system has positive environmental consequences since 40 percent of landfill in the US comes from construction and demolition waste.
Could DOM Indoors also be used in public spaces, or theaters and concert halls as a tool for set designers?