Feb 04 2018

KogniHome – The furniture of the future thinks for itself

The KogniHome Cluster of Innovation has spent three years developing a concept for an intelligent home for families, single people and senior citizens. The project had a budget of more than Euro 11 million at its disposal. The 14 project partners working with Bielefeld University presented the results of their collaboration.. They reveal the developments that the furniture industry and its suppliers need to adapt to in future.

The future begins in the entrance hall

The intelligent front door is the interface between the outside world and the home. It can identify visitors and receive messages. When residents leave, it reminds them to take their keys with them or displays the bus timetable.  A delivery flap can accept packages from the postman and transports the goods on wheels to their designated place in the home.

The wardrobe mirror will also take on remarkable responsibilities in future. It will remind residents to pick up their shopping list or to close open windows and doors. It can recognise if residents’ shirt or tie are on straight and, above all, whether their clothes are appropriate for the current weather. If that’s not the case, the mirror communicates with the wardrobe, which then picks out a suitable outfit.

Tomorrow’s kitchen – it’s magic!

The researchers have really gone to town in the intelligent kitchen. The workplace can move upwards and downwards automatically for each user, relieving the strain on their backs. Shelves located behind the workplace disappear at the touch of a button, creating additional storage space.

But things get really exciting when it comes to cooking. A display makes sure nothing can go wrong. Whisk or mixer? The display indicates the correct appliances and their location in the kitchen. At the touch of the display, the right drawer opens as if by magic. But not everyone in the household should be able to open every drawer, so it is possible to set up a block for certain drawers. This stops children from being able to open the medicine cabinet or the cleaning cupboard.

The intelligent cooking monitor keeps residents “in lane” while they are preparing their food. It guarantees error-free cooking because it does more than just observe – it refines its knowledge. It suggests missing ingredients and automatically connects the required appliances. In critical situations – if the dish risks going wrong – the assistant intervenes, suggests alternatives or adds to recipes. The same rules apply here as they do elsewhere in the KogniHome project: users should only experience positive emotions. The system should never be perceived as an intrusive tool or one that issues instructions.

Future market for the furniture industry

KogniHome impressively demonstrates the direction that the smart home is moving in. Digitalisation means more than simply electrifying the different areas of the home. The furniture of the future must be networked and think for itself; systems must be intuitive, easy to operate and integrated into daily home life as invisibly as possible.

The trade fair ZOW 2018 was a visionary workshop and innovation event designed to showcase interactions, sensor systems and features of particular interest to the furniture industry and those that are already being tested.