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MIT's CityHome turns tight spaces into futuristic abodes

MIT's CityHome turns tight spaces into futuristic abodes
Chris Velazco
Chris Velazco|@chrisvelazco|May 28, 2014 2:59 AM

Pulp sci-fi novels have painted a picture of a bleak future, with dense, dystopian urban sprawl forcing us into ever-shrinking living spaces. Such ignominious abodes would probably benefit from something MIT Media Lab's Changing Places team has been working on. It's called CityHome, and it's a concept that could turn even the most modest studio apartment into a space befitting the stylish futurist lurking in us all.

At its most basic, CityHome compresses the essentials of multiple rooms down into a single box -- a hefty box that's about the size of a closet, but a box nonetheless. Thanks to a slew of built-in sensors, the CityHome unit can contort itself into different forms with just a few hand gestures as guidance. In dire need of some human companionship? Motors will slowly squeeze out a dining room table that'll seat six in relative comfort. Time for a nap? A bed'll slide in and out of the box's side as needed. The entire unit itself can be moved with ease too (check out the video above to see it in action) to make your smallish space feel more expansive than it really is. And the icing on the cake? MIT researcher Kent Larson envisions a slew of apps that let you further exercise control over your realm, including a way to alter your lighting with few brisk waves of a hand.

For now, the CityHome project will remain just that, a proof-of-concept put together just to see how it would all work. Larson has much grander ambitions for it, though: he told Fast Company that the team wants to turn CityHome into an actual, honest-to-goodness product. Hey VCs, forget that flash-in-the-pan social app, how about funding this thing instead?

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MIT's CityHome turns tight spaces into futuristic abodes