Life robotic

Words: Karen Leong : Illustration: Andrew Deloso

Ikea has a plan to solve the issue of small homes in Hong Kong


Given the city’s stranglehold on space, Ikea’s new robotic furniture system, Rognan, is bound to be of interest in Hong Kong. The smart system, slated for a 2020 launch, was designed in collaboration with furniture startup Ori Living and comprises modules in the forms of a bed, desk, closet and couch, which are able to slide across a room or divide a small area into two spaces. Using machine learning, the system adapts to a room by first creating a floor map. When certain parts of the room are in use, the system compares these moments against the map and acquires an idea of what space is needed when. This is supposed to grant the user an additional 7.9m2 of living space.

Seana Strawn, range design leader at Ikea, explains that after visiting people’s homes in both Tokyo and Hong Kong to find out how they live and how they use their space, the team looked into government data on housing situations. The solution was clear: “In order to optimise a small space to its fullest potential while providing the least amount of stress to the customer and the greatest benefit, robotics are required,” Strawn says. Creating better homes is the goal of this new furniture range, although the practicality will depend on the price.

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