IKEA Envisions Future Display Applications

Furniture retailer IKEA at Milan Design Week 2015 has unveiled its “Concept Kitchen 2025” which illustrates the firm’s vision of the future network integration and utilization of sensors and projection displays in the home environment.

IKEA has collaborated with design firm IDEO, and design students at the School of Industrial Design at Lund University as well as at the Industrial Design department at Eindhoven University of Technology to create a vision for the kitchen 10 years in the future. The drawing below illustrates the outline of the IKEA concept.

IKEA 1Source: IKEA

The table of the IKEA concept kitchen is equipped with an induction cooktop, a networked camera, sensors and a projection display, and can serve as a stove and a table top workspace on which food items, toys, interactive displays and more can be utilized. The concept in which all these items come together to form a future kitchen user interface is best illustrated in the video below created by IKEA.

In use, the kitchen table will sense and recognize food placed on the surface, providing recipe and preparation suggestions using the ingredients at hand and suggesting additional ingredients to bring to the table. The projection display and camera, along with sensors and induction coils installed under the table surface, enable recipes to be read, ingredients to be weighed, pots to be heated and mobile devices to be charged when placed on the table.

IKEA, having analyzed trends and synthesized the design students’ research, reaches several conclusions concerning the nature of earth’s citizens in 2025. The firm’s observations include: “We’ll be living more urban lives; Water and energy will again feel precious; Food will be more expensive; Our homes will become physically smaller; But kitchens will be the anchor of the house … where we will continue to gather to share food, drink and get to know each other”. Other conclusions reached by IKEA are: “Working from home will be the norm; Computers will be everywhere; Shopping will mean home delivery”; finally concluding by asking, “How might we create a truly global kitchen that meets universal needs?”

Given the rapid evolution and social impact of products such as today’s smartphone, IKEA is wise to look 10 years into the future to 2025 in order to chart a path forward for the company. Displays look to play a central and ongoing role in that future. Phil Wright