A startup called Asmbld is working on a project that could revolutionize how we live in indoor spaces, with a system being built called DOM Indoors that is a robotic system that can reconfigure an indoor space in a matter of minutes.
The system works through a series of blocks that rise up from the floor to build surfaces like walls, tables, and even bed stands. These blocks can then sink back down in a fluid motion.
All of the building materials, including 5-inch tiles and aluminum studs which together form 6-inch cubes, are stored within the floor of the room that they build. Small robots that assemble these cubes also live under the floors. These robots assemble the cubes individually, then lift them into place. The robots are battery powered, and can go back to a charging station when they are running low on juice.
In a matter of minutes, users could transform their bedroom into an office, and then to a living room, trying out the best combinations for their house.
"Think about a business space where the large conference rooms that are used once a day are the biggest spaces in the building," said Bruno Araujo, robotics engineer at Asmbld, in an interview with TechCrunch. "Instead of wasting resources for spaces that aren't useful 100 percent of the time, we can make the space more efficient and save a lot of money in the long term."
The system certainly sounds complex, but it's actually a little easier to install than some might think. Asmbld is able to install the new floor 5-inches higher than the original one. Not only that, but it takes around the same time that traditional re-flooring would take.
It's ease of installation doesn't take away from its cost, however. A 500-square-foot room costs around $12,000 to install.
The reconfiguration robots themselves are pretty smart, too. If they detect anything above them that's heavy, they will stop operations to prevent any safety hazards. If a robot breaks, the system can detect exactly where the break happened so that it can be removed and repaired without having to pull up the whole floor.
For the system to be viable it would have to work with multiple materials. It might be reasonable to have plastic walls and even floors, but a plastic table isn't preferable.
Check out the video below showing the system in use.