No need for gizmos, doodads, widgets or whatever else you need to assemble furniture, the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT has created a programmable table that transforms from flat to fully-assembled with the touch of a hand.
A team of engineers from MIT joined forces with Wood-Skin, a Milan-based design studio producing a highly flexible, versatile material with a geometric pattern. The material, also called Wood-Skin, is composed of three layers — its outer layers are wood, and in the middle is a synthetic fabric that gives the material movement. It seems like a simple process, but once the layers are adjoined, the designers use a patented software to carve into the wood “[breaking] the rigidity of the surface.” It can then take on any type of shape and can be easily remodeled.
With the self-assembling table, the MIT lab took this process a step further, programming Wood-Skin’s synthetic middle layer to fold into a precise shape. For the table to go into metamorphosis, the user has to introduce energy, like a pull or a nudge. When fully stabilized, the table can support up to 220 pounds.
The objective of the project was to create a self-assembling item that could shipped flat, thus reducing costs and packaging materials. The table is able to flatten back into its original form, allowing it to be easily stored.
The self-assembling table was unveiled earlier this month at Milan Design Week’s Fuorisalone 2015. It will eventually be sold commercially, but an official release date has not been set. Watch the video below to see the table spring to action.