We’re not that far from the smart homes of science fiction, especially with robots that are literally making their way inside our living spaces. The most common is, of course, the circular vacuums and mops that pick up after our mess, but other kinds of smart robots have started to become part of our way of life as well. They may serve different purposes, but a lot of them share a common motif, one that puts more emphasis on technological marvels over other aspects. While that’s not exactly bad, it also takes for granted how user experiences are also driven by aesthetics and comfort, something that cold, impersonal machines are unable to convey. Taking a cue from smart speakers that masquerade as works of art, this home assistant robot concept bucks the trend and instead portrays an appearance that could easily be mistaken for a side table or some other piece of minimalist furniture.
Designers: Haechan Ryu, Haechan Jeong
Perhaps in a few decades, home designs will have become so futuristic that robots won’t look out of place, even if they look mechanical and clinical. At the moment, however, they not only clash with the more organic and life-filled interiors of most homes, they also look unapproachable and alien from an emotional and psychological perspective. We’re still not used to these kinds of smart appliances, so their unusual appearance further distances them from acceptance.
Cor! is a design concept for a home assistant robot that can help humans with their chores while seamlessly blending with its surroundings inside your abode. Sure, it still looks like an appliance on wheels, but its more minimalist and simpler appearance makes it fit better with other furniture without sacrificing function. In fact, its circular plate on top of a truncated pyramid makes it look no different from a unique side table or movable shelf.
That tabletop actually hides Cor!’s core functionality. In a nutshell, it’s a platform that can be raised or lowered as needed and tilt forward to actually do some work. For example, it can dump the contents of a laundry basket into a washing machine, water plants with a pot sitting on top, or dispense food for pets. Cor! can even automatically fetch these “modules” from a shelf that acts as its base, sliding beneath the shelf so that the object on top magnetically latches on the tabletop. And yes, it can also actually hold items on top like a regular table, such as drinks, phones, books, and anything that can fit on top of it.
Cor! also has other functions, such as hidden containers in its base, a ring mood lighting beneath the tabletop, obstacle avoidance, and even an emergency stop button. The real value of this concept, however, lies not in its smart functions but in its smart design, allowing it to be easily integrated into a home’s existing design and into people’s lives.