MIT's CityHome Apartment Can Triple In Size With A Wave Of Your Hand

Are you penniless and sick of being able to shower, cook, and do your laundry all at the same time? MIT's got the solution to your cramped abode: meet MIT's CityHome, the Ikea-esque robo-apartment that can triple in size, responds to your hand gestures, and turns your room into a 70s disco party for you and your two friends. Did we mention it magically makes your apartment three times bigger?

Here's how it works: picture a floor-to-ceiling sliding white box, somewhat like a cupboard. From its lower half can emerge a bed. Higher up, a white slat can pull out, making a table or counter-top. Essentially, the box-frame can hold a whole room: a bed, a table, a closet, a kitchen counter. And the whole thing can move from left to right, so that you can have more floor space when you're on your couch, or having a shower.

Most fun of all? You don't have to press anything, or use a remote to reveal these different amenities (that would be way too old school). No, you just wave, like you would to some tiny invisible minions and — voila.

Aside from the excitingly nerdy aspects of CityHome (you can even download apps), the technology has undoubted potential. According to the National Geographic, fifty percent of the world's people already live in urban areas; in thirty or so years, two-thirds of the global population will have migrated into cities.

Which has been reflected in the housing market, as anyone who's gone apartment-hunting in the city can tell you.

Explained Yolande Barnes, head of world research at Savills, to Forbes: “Billionaire activity has been concentrated on high-end urban centers rather than leisure properties in the surrounding countryside or regional sunbelts. This reflects a global preference for urban locations as these billionaires need to be located in cities where they can do business.”

Earlier this year, CNBC reported that the price of New York City apartments has hit a record high — the average price per square foot is now a whopping $1,363, having gone up by 16 percent. In Hong Kong, a luxury apartment averages at $11,000 per square foot. So a gadget that could turn a 200 square foot room into a functional apartment — complete with space for dinner for six, or Saturday night dance parties — is definitely enticing.

“This would work well in the 30 to 40 Innovation Cities where young people are priced out of the market,” lead researcher Kent Larson said to CoDesign.

The gadget would have to fight it out (or merge, maybe) with Y:Cube's ultra-low cost homes — 300 square foot, pre-made modular units, that are set to open in a London borough later this year. But hey, at least an affordable (albeit tiny) apartment in your favorite city may no longer have to be a pipe dream.

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Images: MIT Media Lab