A startup has developed a way to create space by allowing the ceiling to be used for storage of furniture and possessions.
In many cities, the cost of housing is soaring. As a result, people must live in ever-smaller spaces, where it can be a real struggle to have enough space. Engineer Sankarshan Murthy was one of those who had to contend with less space than he wanted. He developed Bumblebee Spaces after attempting to fit everything into his family’s tiny Bay Area apartment. Bumblebee makes a robotics and AI-based storage system that can triple the amount of usable space. It works by packing possession into ceiling modules that can be raised or lowered as needed.
Bumblebee uses hoists to lift possessions like beds out of the way when out of use, and lower them again when required. The hoists work on an app that allows users to call for their belongings at any time. Murthy describes the system as a way to think of real estate in terms of volume instead of square footage, saying, “You are already paying for all this air and ceiling space you are not using. We unlock that for you.” The system uses AI to identify and tag each item during storage.
Bumblebee has raised seed money from venture capital firms and has begun to sell small numbers of units. They hope to expand to mass-production within a year. The price for the modules and furniture is around $6,000 to $10,000 USD per room, depending on size. Customers also pay Bumblebee a monthly fee for maintenance and software updates.
Bumblebee joins a number of innovations aimed at helping people live well in limited space. These include a miniature bookstore and tiny, affordable vacation homes. The company hopes that, eventually, it will allow people to live better in urban centres that are rapidly becoming too expensive for the average person.