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Robotics Turn Furniture Into Lovable (Sometimes Horny) House Pets

Adam Lassy lends Ikea furniture an electronic soul.

Adam Lassy

Technologists are promising that by 2020, we’ll have an “Internet of things,” where everything around us–from billboards to dining tables–will be able to respond to our whims. So maybe it’s not so ridiculous to imagine a world where our furniture has as much personality as a lovable dog or a neurotic friend.

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That, anyway, was the conceit of a project by Adam Lassy, a student at NYU’s ITP program. Lassy bought a few pieces of furniture from Ikea, and then kitted them out with proximity sensors and motors, so they could move around and respond to their environment.

He then programmed them to behave with certain personalities—the chair, for example, was set to sometimes be shy (moving away from sudden movements) or doting (rapidly approaching anyone in its vicinity) and even…horny (humping your leg). The table, meanwhile, is downright needy–approaching someone sitting down, but requiring constant touching to stay in place.

It’s potentially not all fun and games. Among the more concrete uses that Lassy proposes for this sort of technology is furniture that moves around you, and adapts to your needs autonomously:

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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