A magical murphy bed and other robotic furniture


A demo of MIT Media Lab’s CityHome architectural robotics (Credit: MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places group)

Hasier Larrea thinks interior design is missing one big thing: robots. So many of us live in cities where residences tend to be “micro,” Larrea says at TEDxCambridge, and need ways to make the most of a small space. Robots will let us do that, Larrea says, by making furniture expandable, retractable, and dynamic.

At the MIT Media Lab, where Larrea leads architectural robotics research, developers aim to make furniture both practical and “magical.” They create beds that slide out of drawers without a single touch, tables that descend from the ceiling fully set and cabinets that move through a room.

A moving cabinet makes space in the MiT Media Lab's CityHome

A moving cabinet makes space in the MiT Media Lab’s CityHome (Credit: MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places group)

“The Murphy bed is an example that making transformation easy is not enough,” Larrea says in his talk. “Think about it: making your bed is easy; taking out the pillows so they don’t crash when the bed is folded is easy; putting straps on the bed sheets so they don’t fall is easy; but the whole process is a pain … so making transformation easy is not enough. Transformation needs to be effortless and — if possible — magical.”

Larrea’s robotic bed comes out of a drawer or descends from the ceiling via gesture:


A user moves a CityHome bed (Credit: MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places group)


A wall-mounted Murphy bed made by the MIT Media Lab (Credit: MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places group)

To learn more, watch Larrea’s entire talk below:


  1. Woah! The CityHome bed looks incredible! Maybe you won’t have any sort of answer to this question right now, but when can we expect this type of technology in the furniture marketplace to become more available at the domestic level?



  2. The force! Great morphitecture! I hope the wall mounted bed is staying in place in all situations :) Let’s bring more adjustable interior design to living spaces. Save space, save money and hey: it brings the 4th dimension to furniture – adjustable to any needs any time in a day or life.

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