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Robot chair falls apart, pulls itself together

Chair can crumple itself into a disjointed pile of wood, then reassemble itself.

Crumpling chair

Get your act together, chair.

Raffaello D'Andrea, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell University, has created a chair in conjunction with Canadian artist Max Dean that can crumple itself into a disjointed pile of wood and then reassemble itself. Dean came up with the vision and D'Andrea, who advises the university's robot teams, designed it. Another Canadian artist and a former student of D'Andrea's then helped them build it.

"It has no utilitarian value," D'Andrea said in a prepared statement. "It is an art piece."

Chair on floor

No, but it is cool (and in some ways a metaphor of my own life). The chair is currently on world tour at various science museums. Right now it is in Austria and will travel to New York in November.

The chair contains 14 motors, two gearboxes and other parts. Algorithms help the parts that can move on the robot find its missing parts.

Years earlier, the two built a table that followed people around.

(Photos: Raffaello D'Andrea)