Video: CityHome Transforms Your Studio Apartment

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July 01, 2014

If you live in a major city, you know just how expensive the real estate can be. Getting something "affordable" often means a studio apartment with barely enough space for you, let alone a roommate and/or a dog.

What can we do to make our humble abodes seem larger? MIT Media Lab's Changing Places group believes it has the answer. The team developed a piece of smart furniture that serves as every piece of furniture you need. Meet CityHome.

Urban living
If you're one of the billions of people that live in an urban area, you know all too well about furniture transformers -- closets that hide foldout beds, and desks that convert to dining room tables. We've seen it all. The Changing Places team decided to combine the idea of Decepticon furniture with the ever-expanding world of smart devices. The result: CityHome.

What can CityHome do? First, it converts into a ton of different pieces of furniture, including an organizer, a bed, a desk, a dining room table that seats six, a bench, a kitchen counter, and a room divider. Not satisfied? CityHome is also app-friendly and can be programmed to turn your space into a smart space, allowing you to control your lighting and window treatments. It can act as a personal assistant and even bust out disco lights. Hey, live big, right?

CityHome responds to voice control, touch, and gestures. The unit has built-in sensors, motors for mobility, and LEDs. Changing Places says the unit makes a 200-square-foot apartment feel like a 600-square-foot apartment just by eliminating the need for multiple pieces of furniture. The unit itself (featured in the video below) is about the size of a closet.

Will it make it to market?
The short answer is not anytime soon. For now, CityHome is a proof-of-concept design that can inform the way we think about and decorate small spaces. However, the group does have plans to market the design down the road, and it is working on the logistics for manufacturing and funding the futuristic product. If it does enter the market, the team says, it will be affordable, so long as it's mass produced. Crowdfunding, anyone?

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