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MIT Creates Furniture That Responds To Nature [Video]

Futuristic shapeshifting furniture mimics motion found in the world around us.

Ross Brooks

Transform is an idea from MIT that aims to create a piece of shapeshifting furniture that may one day be able to react to your personality, mood, or current state of mind. Created by Professor Hiroshi Ishii and the Tangible Media Group from the MIT Media Lab, the table is made from more than 1,000 individual moving pieces.

The motion design is inspired by the dynamic interactions found in nature, such as wind, water and sand. Escher’s representations of perpetual motion, and the attributes of sand castles built at the seashore, were also contributing factors.


Relying on a library of animations created by Philipp Schoessler, the table can produce a wide range of motion, each with its own unique set of characteristics. For example, smooth ripples can create a calming effect, movement that represents boiling water creates more tension, while one animation even mimics nature as if the tiny pins that make up the table were living organisms.

Transform made its first appearance at this year’s Design Week in Milan, as part of the LEXUS DESIGN AMAZING exhibition. The team from MIT want to convey the fact that computers in the future won’t look like computers. Instead, furniture, clothing, and countless other everyday items will be completely integrated with some kind of computational power.


[h/t] FastCoDesign, Tangible Media Group

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