The latest version of a shape-shifting sofa called Lift-Bit was unveiled recently at Milan Design Week 2017. Lift-Bit is a collection of individual upholstered stools that can be assembled as a sofa. Motion-tracking sensors allow each segment of the sofa to be controlled—to turn the sofa into a bed, chaise lounge, group of armchairs or a playground for kids.
The seats’ textiles contain a capacitive control system, allowing each stool to sense the presence of a person’s hand. Sensors and intelligence are distributed throughout, so the stools can move up and down independently by waving a hand a few centimeters above the fabric.
The sofa can also be remotely reconfigured with the use of the Lift-Bit app, sustained by a mesh networking system. The app includes both a series of predetermined three-dimensional shapes and a tool to invent combinations.
The sofa is a project of the design firm Carlo Ratti Associati in collaboration with Opendot. Carlo Ratti says that Lift-Bit draws on the potential of the Internet of Things. Ratti envisions endlessly reconfigurable environments—architecture and interior landscapes that respond to the needs, characters and desires of users and inhabitants.
Carlo Ratti Associati is an international design and innovation office based in Torino, Italy, with branches in Boston and London, It draws on Carlo Ratti’s research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Senseable City Lab to contribute to the creation of intelligent cities and buildings.
Opendot s.r.l. is a Milan-based network of designers and other professionals in a variety of disciplines who embrace the philosophy of collaboration and sharing of knowledge and experience.