back to article What a time to be alive: LG and Italian furniture-maker build smart sofa

Korean electronics giant LG and Italian homewares concern Natuzzi have teamed up to create the internet of furniture. The pair will front Milano Design Week, which kicks off next Tuesday April 17th, with kit that means “a visitor can sit on a piece of Nattuzi furniture and tell it to turn on the TV. It will then activate the …

  1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    The sofa should have the beer fridge built in. That's already available for single seats so no excuses please.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Don't forget the waste drainage and storage area, or maybe have it all plumbed through to the domestic facilities. They could team up with the Japanese for that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "instruct a robot to go to the fridge and bring you a beer"

      That's because a typical Anglo-saxon habit, not an Italian one... you need to wait for the localized version.

      1. tfewster Silver badge

        Re: "instruct a robot to go to the fridge and bring you a beer"

        http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20180403

    3. macjules Silver badge

      1) Place spare remote control under sofa cushion

      2) Sit on sofa

      3) TV switches on

      There, saved you several thousand pounds.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting, I could sit my bot on a botnet.

    It's not exactly well thought out, what if I want to read a book? Will I have to go into an app to disable it or turn the TV off manually? It's another case of solution find problem.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Joke

      Maybe you just need to turn the other cheek?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        funny, I read turn OFF the other cheek. That said, there must be an app for that?!

    2. SkippyBing Silver badge

      'It's not exactly well thought out, what if I want to read a book? '

      Well you'd obviously need the LG reading couch for that. Not to mention the nookie sofa, the afternoon tea ottoman, the gaming chaise lounge...

      This is genius, single use furniture is going to increase their sales 50000%*.

      *Estimate, actual increase may vary.

      1. jake Silver badge

        I think you'll find ...

        ... it's not only single-use, you also don't own it. It'll be subscription, just like (some) new cars. SofaAsAService, the new black. Mark my words ...

        (The velcro-whippet says "It's Italian and so probably uncomfy anyway",)

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        This is genius, single use furniture is going to increase their sales 50000%*.

        *Estimate, actual increase may vary

        Add in the costs of a bigger house and then there's the mandatory "re-decorate" charges as almost all S/O's want the house "personalized".

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The description sounds like it just has a built in 'smart assistant'. You sit down and the smart assistant starts listening for commands - in other words a sofa with built in Alexa / Google Home etc. IoT the technology that keeps on giving ... crap no one wants or needs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I wonder what the smart ass-istant would do when the sofa is used for other activities... does it help reconfiguring it accordingly or it simply records them and post on your facebook page?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I've an app idea, my fitness couch.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "I wonder what the smart ass-istant would do when the sofa is used for other activities"

        Yeah, you settle down for a night of canoodling and nookie and the TV blare out an episode of Chuggington. Is that the train going in and out of the tunnel repeatedly?

  4. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Pint

    The end of times

    is nigh - I'm just waiting for the first report of these sofas eating the unwary innocents taking a break (and a beer) in situ

  5. Milton Silver badge

    How to know which ones are jokes?

    Well? Over the last five years we've had an avalanche of completely stupid and utterly pointless Internet of Shyte "ideas", things of such farcical utility that you barely even bother to laugh any more: an eye-roll is all they deserve.

    So how are we to know the difference between some earnest fool actually, genuinely believing that the world needs a "smart" sofa (which sounds, from the description, like a really stupid one) and some other guy, who is completely hip to the wilful absurdity of these fatheads' "thinking" processes, simply making ironic jokes?

    Because if the "sofa that dims lights and turns TV on for you" story appeared on April 1st, it would elicit a mighty yawn.

    If I am to believe that some crashingly idiotic person—an actual, supposedly educated human being older than eight years—came up with this "Stupid Sofa™" (aka The Cretinous Couch™) as a saleable concept, then I may as well succumb to my long-repressed worry that there is a much greater conspiracy at work, wherein all people born worldwide since 1980 have had the majority of their cerebral cortex removed at birth.

    That would, at least, explain a lot—including the IoS; the Daily Mail; the decomposition of western democracy; and absolutely everything about social media.

    1. Noonoot

      Re: How to know which ones are jokes? - don't be so grumpy

      @Milton I know it's Friday, and it's also the 13th (oh no....twilight zone music can be heard in the background), but a Natuzzi sofa with sensors that puts the lights on and activates the TV would mean that when I get home, I don't have to do anything except head towards the sofa, in the dark mind you, and just throw myself on it. Fantastic!!!! And now I'm rubbing my bloody big toe that I stubbed on the stupid Calligaris table that stands stupidly just next to the stupid Natuzzi sofa.

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: How to know which ones are jokes?

      You have hit the nail on the head-

      These are the sort of things that 8yr olds dream up when asked to invent a device for the 'home of the future'.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How to know which ones are jokes?

      "The Daily Mail"

      That's a bit weird. What does the Daily Mail have to do with a smart sofa?

      Do you walk around throughout your day to day life comparing everything you see to the Daily Mail in terms of usefulness? Strikes me as a little obsessed tbh.

    4. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: How to know which ones are jokes?

      Quite.

      In the 1982 remake of "The Thing", Kurt Russell would walk around with a flame thrower, pilot light twinkling, ready for some pyrotechnical action.

      I'm beginning to know how he felt.

    5. Mark 85 Silver badge

      @Militon -- Re: How to know which ones are jokes?

      So how are we to know the difference between some earnest fool actually, genuinely believing that the world needs a "smart" sofa (which sounds, from the description, like a really stupid one) and some other guy, who is completely hip to the wilful absurdity of these fatheads'

      Exhibit A: Facebook... " build it, they will come."

  6. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Coat

    Does it notify you

    of the things you lost down the back of it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does it notify you

      Top Tip: When storing your remote control put it down the back of the couch, you'll never lose it again.

    2. rmason Silver badge

      Re: Does it notify you

      Will it have an app? Will one of the functions of that app track lost coinage?

      "currency stored in sofa: £5.78"

      As an aside though;

      Has anyone told them Alexa/Echo will do all of these things already? Apart from "optimising the sofa position" bit.

      This also implies no one has told them that people *don't* leave sofas in any position but "optimal" *ever*.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Does it notify you

        Is that the next big thing to get in at the bottom rung? Mining for Couch Currency?

  7. Denarius Silver badge
    FAIL

    not another

    stupid thing that does uncommanded actions. I assume that I am not the only person who just sits down occasionally. No other actions required. How often is the question "What problem are you trying to solve" actually asked ?

  8. JakeMS

    But!

    What happens when you fart? It can feel the thump from fart right? So can it auto spray air freshner? Set an alarm off to let other room sitters know? Be like in loud robot voice "WARNING! Fart detected from Seat Number 1. With an estimated intensity of 6 out of 10! Please vacate the near by area!"

    Now that's a feature I'd pay for!

    We'll call it "The Smart Fart Detector"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But!

      So can it auto spray air freshner?

      My own farts are a work of artisanal craftsmanship and I wouldn't want them spoiled - so the fart system needs to be controllable, but even in respect of other people's I'd rather sniff their farts than the chemical poisons in canned "air fresheners".

      If it is to do this job we need negative pressure ventilation round the edges of the cushions to capture the fumes, and they then need to be passed through an active carbon filter. The smart sofa could then check the "downwash" for sulphides and mercaptans, and if necessary recirculate through the filter a few more times, before venting the cleaned air at floor level. Obviously the sofa would order replacement filters and service attention itself, with a pre-selected and obscenely expensive supplier.

  9. Muscleguy Silver badge

    But, but what if I want to sit on the sofa and read a book (even using my eReader) or just talk to someone or put the footrest up, lean back and have a catnap? If every time I sit down the bloody box starts up that will be a pain.

    Oh yes, and I sit on the sofa to put my socks and running shoes on after stretching before a run. Again I don't want the box to switch on.

    Yet another killer IOT application that leaves me going meh!

    I still see no point in any of it and LOTS of downsides (eating in the dark because your smart bulbs are updating).

    Most of them seem to be working towards the future in WallE which was a WARNING people, not an instruction list.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      "WallE which was a WARNING people, not an instruction list."

      You mean most of the rubbish in the movie was actually IoT devices?

      1. JakeMS

        Re: "WallE which was a WARNING people, not an instruction list."

        I think it's refering to the way the humans in the film had become so lazy that they literally didn't know how to walk, they all sat in chairs which moved them, cleaned them, gave them food, all while having a tablet in front of them.

        The robots did all work, and a central robot controlled everything.

        Basically, the world we're now starting to enter.

  10. Noonoot

    no one's mentioned it yet but

    Forget farts and catnaps. What happens if you use said settee a "soiree a due" - the intimate get together on a Friday night?!!!!!

    Lights on. Off. On. Off. .....TV screen will burn out.

    The neighbours will think there are burglars and call the police. WTF!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another IoT Anser waiting for a question

    so, you have one of these and you sit down and bang, as the TV searches for a new or renamed channel you get 10 minutes of adverts that you can't stop. If you stand up to go and put the kettle on, the whole thing shuts down and restarts when you return because you obviously have not seen all those wonderful

    "Messages from our sponsors".

    Sigh, and another sigh.

    Next they'll put some scales in the sofa and sound the alarm (red flashing lights) if it finds that you have gained 0.01kg in weight in the last month.

    Then...

    Then...

    Sorry, nope, not gonna have one of these ever. Sometimes I just want to sit down and not have music, TV, Radio or whatever sounding off at me.

    But there again, I'm a grumpy old sod so my thoughts are irrelevant.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about pets? What if it turns on to a channel my cat doesn't like?

    1. jake Silver badge

      If you bring one of these things into the house ...

      ...the cat will notify you if it's unacceptable.

  13. David Lewis 2
    Devil

    Cruel & Unusual Punishment?

    You WILL watch Daytime TV!

  14. muddysteve

    Not as bad as it sounds

    It won't do things automatically.

    “a visitor can sit on a piece of Nattuzi furniture and tell it to turn on the TV. It will then activate the LG Signature OLED TV while the sofa and light are adjusted for the best viewing experience.”

    So you have to tell it what to do. I'd still rather use a remote, though.

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Not as bad as it sounds

      "It won't do things automatically."

      Indeed, but far from not being as bad as it sounds, that actually makes it even worse. There are already a whole bunch of different ways you can tell things what to do - every phone has at least one voice assistant whether you want it or not, Amazon and Google, among others, are trying to fill our homes with listening devices, people forget that both the Xbox1 and before that Kinect were both initially advertised as constantly spying on you (and that actually brought complaints at the time rather than everyone now paying extra for a device that does nothing else), and of course there are plenty of smaller niche solutions to mess with lights, heating, and so on.

      Having yet another different solution that only works when you're near one specific piece of furniture and can only interact with a few specific devices is completely worthless. At least a sofa that does something automatically when you sit on it would have a unique selling point. A sofa that essentially just has a half-arsed Alexa taped to the side is pointless, since you could achieve a better experience by literally taping Alexa to the side. Even if you're concerned with fashion, you could still buy a Nattuzi sofa and hide your Echo behind a cushion on something. An automated sofa has rather limited use, but what they're actually selling appears to have no use at all.

  15. DaveB

    This is where the IOT arguments start

    So I can imagine the sofa talking to the vacuum cleaner:-

    Sofa: "I read on the internet that your blaby and will talk to anyone"

    VC: "I understand that you let anyone sit on you and your having an affair with the TV"

    TV: "Leave my friend alone"

    Alexa: "Stop"

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: This is where the IOT arguments start

      TV company exec: We can make reality TV out of this IoT stuff arguing with each other.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: This is where the IOT arguments start

      So I can imagine the sofa talking to the vacuum cleaner:-

      Sofa: "I read on the internet that your blaby and will talk to anyone"

      VC: "I understand that you let anyone sit on you and your having an affair with the TV"

      TV: "Leave my friend alone"

      Alexa: "Stop"

      Plaintive voice drifts through the door "Would anyone like some toast?"

  16. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Boffin

    How does it stack up

    to the Cray sofa, regarding comfort as well as processing power?

  17. ashton

    So when can we see smart toilet paper ?

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      You won't

      If the bog roll is smart enough to know its fate, it will escape or self-immolate before you ever get a chance to see it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought Samsung were into AI fridges?!

    wait, not fridges, that was last year, they're into cameras, out there to conquer the market, no, hold on, that was two years ago... so what about them... you know, them thingies people look at when they walk on the street, drive the car, sit on a shitter, fuck their neigbour's wife, cycle (in Italy, mostly), etc?

    ...

    OK, Sam-sing!

  19. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Alexa in the sofa with a TV remote

    "Oh, Reginald, do me"

    "Finding movies featuring Reginald Toomey"

    "Honey, why is Amazon recommending DVDs of old Reginald Toomey flcks?"

  20. cybertonto72

    So are they just putting sensors in the cushions that tells a Raspberry Pi that some one has sat down and if it hears a command to then switch a TV on?

  21. onefang Silver badge

    If it was truly smart, it could turn on more than just one model of TV.

  22. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Anyone else remember a Dave Allen sketch involving a voice-activated smart home?

    He's suitably impressed of course. After a few sample commands (lights on, door close sorta thing) during which he sits on the sofa, he exclaims "well, bugger me". Whoops!

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Owner is home sitting on sofa, activate mic on Smart TV

    Seems like every other IoT device, is made primarily for its surveillance potential... Consumer utility??? .... Not even a secondary consideration.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The smart home that spied on its owner

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-43747421

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Pfffffffftt

    The smartest thing for my Sofa would be to shut up and not annoy me, I'm catching some zzzzz's or watching the game, making out with my girl.

    The last thing I want to worry about is compatibility and location of power points when purchasing a Sofa, comfort and style are enough.

  26. doublelayer Silver badge

    A note to IOT manufacturers

    Here's a simple calculation of whether your device is definitely crap or just possibly so. If it falls into definitely, you should not build it.

    First, calculate how much time it takes to do the action this device would prevent me from doing. Call this number T. For example, picking up the remote control and pressing "on" takes about two seconds.

    Calculate how often I do that thing every week and call that number W.

    Calculate how long it takes using your product to do the same and call that number P. For this couch, that would involve sitting down and waiting for the couch to turn on the microphone, then enough time for me to say "Turn on the TV", so maybe four seconds.

    Now here are the rules. If P>T, your product is useless. We don't need it. If P is basically equal to T, consider whether your system is easier mechanically, which it isn't. If P is less than T, consider just how much time you save me per week (T-P)*W. If that works out to five seconds, we don't need it. However, try to make products where (T-P)*W is ten minutes or more. Consider these, do some work on it, and come back in October. Off you go.

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