Robotic furniture

I’m involved with MAGNET, a wonderful new interdisciplinary facility shared by various schools at NYU and NYU/Poly. As you can see if you visit the web site, there are many great spaces for students to discuss ideas, form study groups, collaborate on group projects, or just work by themselves.

One issue is that at certain times, particularly toward the end of the semester, things can get a little chaotic. The moveable furniture which contributes to the flexibility and reconfigurability of the space can end up in all sorts of odd and inconvenient places.

All too often, somebody needs to come in and put the furniture back into a workable arrangement, so that the space can continue to work for its many simultaneous uses — lectures, workshops, research projects and both individual and group study.

I realize that there is currently no cost-effective way to do this, but wouldn’t it be great if we just had robotic furniture? During the day the tables and chairs would compliantly move wherever you put them, but at night they would magically rearrange themselves back to a fresh state, ready to be put to optimal use by the next day’s eager young minds.

And wouldn’t it be nice, for once, to walk into a shared use classroom and find the chairs all arranged for that morning’s lecture, or moved discreetly to the side in preparation for the following day’s roundtable workshop?

Besides, it would be really cool to have robotic furniture. 🙂

One Response to “Robotic furniture”

  1. This semester three (or perhaps more) of our students took it upon themselves to arrive a bit early each morning and “reset” the furniture in the classroom – which features movable tables and chairs and frequently resembles a jumble sale by the end of the day – into a useful format for the coming day. They were the unsung heroes of the year. Not robots, but similarly committed to service to others.

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