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Hardware Hacking Build

24 Rooms in 344sq Feet 178

This is a little unusual for a Slashdot story, but you've got to respect the hacker ethos that makes something like this possible. Gary Chang modified his 344 sq foot apartment with a system of sliding panels to transform it into 24 room combinations. I'm not so excited about the tinted windows, but the functionality is sweet.
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24 Rooms in 344sq Feet

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  • No basement (Score:4, Funny)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @11:19AM (#36083702)

    Not suitable for Slashdotters.

    • Not true, he just didn't slide out the panel that's full of SW memorabilia, Cat5 cable and cheetos wrappers. Seriously, though, I would not want to start running a bath while I watch some TV and then have to figure out where I left it...
  • I was take really good care of my media and storing it all really nicely on shelves in the boxes they came in like a good little OCD meticulous collector.

    Fuck that.

    A couple of months ago I got a bunch of Case Logic Zipper cases, not only can I put a whole bunch more DVD's and CD's into the same physical area when it comes time to move they can all fit into a single box that I would have held about 1/10th of the collection before hand. This guy needs to go that route to squeeze even more functionality out o

    • Exactly. He could replace that entire bookshelf unit with a kindle and add another 3 rooms.
      • Just got my Kindle last week, so far I'm liking it, and yes, one whole bookshelf devoted to the Dark Tower Series is part of the reason I did it. I'm keeping those books for the awesome artwork BTW, not just the novels but the Marvel Comics, those are something Kindle can't replace. For the rest of it? To the electronic gizmo!

        • I've got one as well and am pleased with it. However... I rather wish that we'd a) start seeing prices that reflect lower production costs and b) start seeing a standard, so that each device seller is not trying to lock you in.

          Alas, I suspect neither one is coming soon.

          • I've got one as well and am pleased with it. However... I rather wish that we'd a) start seeing prices that reflect lower production costs and b) start seeing a standard, so that each device seller is not trying to lock you in.
            Alas, I suspect neither one is coming soon.

            Last I checked, the eBook readers will all handle ePub format. So it looks like (b) is covered, at least.

        • Kindle renders pictures really nicely though, though obviously not in colour yet. I love the John James Audubon screen-lock pic (the birds/branches), would like to change things so that it only ever uses that as the screensaver (well, maybe that and the kindle tree/kid reading silhouette, that's also a beautiful image).

          Kindle app on a colour tablet is really nice to use. It's actually decent on my phone too. I prefer a backlit screen when indoors, but the Kindle has already been great for taking on long jou

    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      Yup.. all the info found in the DVD case/CD case can be found online now... if you had any interest in it to begin with.

      I now even keep those DVD binders in the closet... having ripped them all to my internal file server. I'd like to say I made good use of the entire wall of space this cleared up... but nope... just put more junk there :(

      • Something from Neca or ThinkGeek beats a bunch of media spines any day.

        • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

          Assuming you are talking about those automated carousel type systems .. they are cool (friend of mine uses one for his audio CDs .. which he still actually uses for some reason) but don't seem to have a good CD/DVD to dollar ratio. My DVD collection is well over 500 ... and many of those are TV series with 4 to 6 discs. Thinkgeek sells one for around $100 that stores 150 discs. That becomes a very expensive proposition, especially if you are only keeping them as backups.

          • I'm talking about a big zipper case I can hide in a closet and forget about. I've ripped all my DVD's to a NAS drive which I view on my BluRay player over UPNP and DLNA, I even use my Android phone to select media from the drive and display on the player, I can also use the phone as a standard remote.

            I have a single box setup for things like TV series. Some TV series come in standard DVD cases, in which case they get put in a zipper case, but some of them are actually quite compact they way they come to m

            • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

              I'm talking about a big zipper case I can hide in a closet and forget about

              Augh, yeah, missunderstood your post.. this is exactly what I was refering to as well!

              I still buy audio CD's also BTW. I figure I'm better off paying $3 for an entire used album at a resale shop instead of paying by the song and having a backup that last indefinately instead of relying on a DRM server not to break.

              I still buy CDs and DVDs for this reason... but as you said, they just serve as a backup.

            • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

              I've ripped all my DVD's to a NAS drive which I view on my BluRay player over UPNP and DLNA

              This is offtopic, but what (linux friendly) software did you use to rip all of your DVD's? I've got about 150 DVD's that I'd like to do the same to. I'm looking for something quick and easy - put the DVD in the drive, hit "go", and walk away.

              • I use Handbrake, works great. Occasionally I do hit a disk, about 1 in 100 that are nearly impossible to rip with the GUI. Gods and Generals was one of them and I had a couple of more. When the GUI doesn't work the command line interface still rips them fine, I've had to command line about 5 of them out of ~ 400.

                Advice - use the AC3 pass through on sound if you're going to play back on a PC or a player that can play it, the surround sound conversion caused a few oddities that I like to avoid. If you wan

    • It's a little more additional effort, but for the ultimate in space saving, just rip it all. I've already done so with my CDs, but I can't face the DVD/blu-ray collection yet!

      I've switched to Spotify for music now anyway, so even my ripped music collection has become slightly irrelevant! Hopefully soon Amazon or LoveFilm will start offering an HD streaming subscription service and then I won't have to worry about ripping my movies/TV shows either.

      Loving my Kindle for books too, though annoyingly there have

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      A TB HDD uses a lot less space than a CD binder.

    • OTOH if he has a bunch of rare releases then the original jewelboxes themselves have long-term collector's value. And there are tons of short-run Japanese-only music releases, check any collector website if you don't believe me.

  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @11:21AM (#36083728) Homepage Journal

    The best part is that he turned it into a time machine and had the story posted over and over again on slashdot.
    Cool apartment mod, but this was all over the place years ago.

  • by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @11:22AM (#36083736)

    You'd have to be obsessive compulsive to live in one of these places.

    Leave you car keys anywhere but the designated spot.. whole system probably jams. Ok, maybe not that bad, but I suspect you'd have to be very tidy to keep this functional.

    Still, pretty damn impressive!

    • by leuk_he ( 194174 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @12:01PM (#36084290) Homepage Journal

      Any small living area has to be kept tidy, since there simply is no room to make a mess. Sling walls make no real difference in this.

      But the sliding walls make this a single task apartment. You simply cannot one person stay in bet while the other starts watching tv. Since the kitchen and the bed share some space a luxery breakfast also is not very practical.

      Single user, not really a problem for most slashdotters.

    • Re:Minestone (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @12:05PM (#36084342) Homepage

      You'd have to be obsessive compulsive to live in one of these places.

      Leave you car keys anywhere but the designated spot.. whole system probably jams. Ok, maybe not that bad, but I suspect you'd have to be very tidy to keep this functional.

      That's probably true of anybody occupying 344 square feet -- people who live in lofts and other tiny spaces come up with some pretty amazing ways of actually utilizing the space.

      People who are completely disorganized would probably never be able to occupy a space like this. Me, for instance. I can't fathom living in that small of a space, let along being that organized with it.

      However, if you do it right, you can make a small space seem far more usable/big than it would appear. I'm betting for an architect in Hong Kong, there's likely a lot of demand from others in very small spaces -- I suspect square footage is at a premium. So, if he's got a working space he lives in, it's probably a good reference to say "oh, sure, I can help with that problem".

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      It's like stuffing your suitcase really, really full. Very neat, but takes a long time and if you ever have to repack or add one more thing it's hell. Better to have a bit bigger suitcase and some leeway.

      Personally I have 500 sqf to myself and is moving into something bigger, not smaller. About 750 I think would be ideal for me. And I would take 1000+ and a pool room in the cellar too, except it costs more than it tastes.

      • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

        Better to have a bit bigger suitcase and some leeway.

        Yup. If I can't russle around in there for something and still close the case afterwards, I either pack less stuff or get a bigger case.

    • At least you'd know where your keys were, then.

    • Re:Minestone (Score:4, Informative)

      by Heian-794 ( 834234 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @01:53PM (#36085578) Homepage

      Car keys?

      People who live in big cities where apartments of 344 square feet are normal don't waste massive amounts of space on parking for cars -- there will be stores within walking distance, and they probably take the subway to work.

      If the guy lives by himself, 344 ft^2 really isn't small at all. My wife and I share just under 38 m^2 (408 ft^2) and, while not spacious, our apartment certainly isn't tiny. We have a kitchen, living room, and bedroom, plus a bathroom, and a balcony on which to hang the laundry. This is in Tokyo, where density is about the same as Hong Kong.

      When we have a kid, then we'll start to feel cramped. But there are other people in our building raising kids in rooms the size of ours!

      • 344 ft^2 really isn't small at all
        Yes, yes it is. By any measure, that is a small living space. I suppose you could argue a cost/benefit ratio if it was on the moon or something but here on earth, it's small.
        • I used to live in 30 m^2 for quite a while, although that didn't include a bathroom. 344 ft^2 is 32 m^2, so even slightly larger, but he's got a bathroom as well.
          This is in a medium (200.000) city in the Netherlands in Europe. For students and young adults small apartments in this range are not unusual over here. It's not big, but I had a living room that could seat 11 people, 6 meters of bookshelves, a desk, a bed and a small kitchen. I lived there quite happily for the first 3-4 years I had a job.

  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @11:23AM (#36083758) Homepage Journal

    He would find a job at Aperture Science any day.

  • Uploaded by JellyWoo1014 on Apr 22, 2010

    Nah, that's about par for Slashdot stories.

  • by SpammersAreScum ( 697628 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @11:25AM (#36083810)
    Headline is wrong, but to be fair TFA's is as well. It's not 24 rooms, it's 24 room combinations (each consisting of between 4 and 6 rooms as far as I can tell from the diagrams).
  • It seems that his skills could be very useful in designing multi-purpose rooms in the (extremely) cramped spaces of spacecraft used for long duration voyages.

    He might welcome the challenge since presumably he could design with the additional freedom of the third dimension. That assumes the spacecraft is in zero or very low gee environments most of the time like under ion thrust or having "landed" on a small asteroid.

    I wonder if he does set design? These skills might be very good for quickly changing sets especially in venues where they do not have a lot of backstage space.

  • I saw this on This New House on the DYI network about six months ago this is really old news. Really neat news but really old news.
    • I saw this on This New House on the DYI network about six months ago this is really old news. Really neat news but really old news.

      I didn't and had never seen it before, so I'm happy /. posted it. It's not material that ages quickly or is no longer relevant.

  • iPods and ebooks would allow you dump bulky CDs and books.
    • iPods and ebooks would allow you dump bulky CDs and books.

      I'm not sure that short of buying them again, that I could replace my entire bookshelves with digital versions.

      Even if I could buy them in digital format (and I'm betting more than half I couldn't), the cost would likely be prohibitive to replace all of the books that I've accumulated through a lifetime that I refuse to live without. They'd want to charge me full retail for them damned things again.

      I've got some old editions of books (nothing rare o

      • by sycorob ( 180615 )

        I know what you mean, but ... have you ever pulled out one of those old books and read them? If so, how many? If all you had to do was replace the books that you actually might re-read from time to time, I don't think it'd be too expensive. I'm getting pretty comfortable living only in my Kindle. I have a paper book that I bought several months ago, I never get around to reading it, because it's so much less convenient than my e-reader, which is always in my bag anyway.

        Also, via OverDrive, you can get lib

        • I know what you mean, but ... have you ever pulled out one of those old books and read them? If so, how many?

          I'm not the grandparent, but yes. I only ever buy books when I want to read them a second time (first time is from the library). Usually I end up reading them a 3rd time or more. Things like Lords of the Rings and Dune I must have read at least 7-8 times.
          Some books I don't read in their entirety tough, I have quite a few atlasses, maps, cookbooks, historical reference works, RPG manuals and such. Overall I think I have about 30 meters of filled bookshelves, so the collection is quite substantial.

          Even if I c

  • I hope he does because one could patent anything these days. As Gosling noted, they obtained a patent that essentially said, "if you make something simpler, it'll go faster". This was in relation to computer software.

    I hope this fellow has applied for a patent.

  • an expensive city. While the building looks awful from the outside, what's inside is beautiful IMHO, and would certainly be a 'solution' for people looking for a way to utilize their small expensive living space to the fullest. At least, I don't know of any large city that isn't expensive in terms of house prices.

    One would wonder about humidity etc. though. The bed being stored away like that would be a recipe for - okay, you can fill that in yourself. And what about leaking etc. - if you'd even find

  • by Xacid ( 560407 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @11:36AM (#36083988) Journal

    according to the above comments - I'm glad it got reposted cause I must have missed it.

    I, for one, think this design is friggin awesome. I'd like to see how he routed his power needs on some of those panels.

    However - to hell with being in what appears to be a shitty building otherwise. Though I'm unfamiliar with Hong Kong so maybe this is the good part of town.

    • to hell with being in what appears to be a shitty building otherwise. Though I'm unfamiliar with Hong Kong so maybe this is the good part of town.

      Hong Kong residential apartment buildings are often very old, and not in the best of condition []. Land is very expensive, and most new construction is devoted to commercial buildings.

    • That's typical Hong Kong. What you see on the exterior is not what you will get on the interior. A lot of the buildings are easily 40 years old but they are built of concrete and tiled exteriors. So there isn't much wear on the buildings and people will renovate the interiors to a rather impressive degree as you see in this video. There are a lot of new housing developments of course but you have to be very wealthy to afford them. If you want to see some of the actual seedy ways of living in Hong Kong, tak

  • This reminds me of Corbin Dallas' woefully small, but configurable living space in the movie. One of the underappreciated sci-fi movie sets.

  • by ThoughtMonster ( 1602047 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @11:38AM (#36084010) Homepage

    Website is here [].

    A preview video is here [].

    I have no idea how expensive this stuff is.

  • by WizardMarnok ( 2032762 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @11:38AM (#36084020)
    My home is comparable to the Transformers too - basically the same as it was in the 80's with a few unpopular changes and a more costly budget. Also Megan Fox is no longer welcome.
  • by Capt James McCarthy ( 860294 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @11:46AM (#36084102) Journal

    Please leave the room, I have to transform it into a shitter.

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

    Meet the new Doctor.

  • by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @11:50AM (#36084142)

    The apartment does not transform into 24 rooms or even 24 different configurations. Since 1976 the apartment has had 24 different layouts; each one created by a renovation and not sliding walls. The last layout is the one in the article and uses sliding walls and a Murphy bed to maximize space use. Take a look at the layouts you can make out. The bathroom fixtures in the 1989 layout are completely different in the 1998 layout. Changing the shape of a bathtub by moving walls would be a really great trick. How does the furniture disappear? In the 1976 layout there are 3 conventional beds while the 2006 layout has none.

    • Actually I was partially incorrect. The current layout has four moving panels, two accordion sliding curtains, a fold down guest bed and a Murphy bed. I found a more informative video and Chang states that mathematically there are an infinite number of configuration (depending in exactly where the panels are) but around 20 usable configurations. This is probably true. The schematics of the previous designs are not explained and just confused me. I sure with the last picture of all 24 "rooms" was not so de-r

  • Why? Because my bedroom and sitting are bigger than his apartment. It really makes it obvious how much space (well that and other things) we waste here. I can see how some "areas" of the house would be restricted to outside walls, that being anything with plumbing. With that little floor space I figure heating and cooling if provided at the building level would be at opposite ends of the area centered restricting those sides. It then becomes a game of what can you pack in each shelf width and the hard part

    • On one hand I love the spatial efficiency here. I'd love to see this in cheaper 500sqft "Efficiency" or "Studio" apartments over here, would be excellent. I'd love to engineer a cheap, long-term solution, probably using lots of bamboo and sealed Teflon-coated bearings chambers with Teflon coated bearings. Plate the damn things with aluminum or a hardwood-style laminate, it doesn't matter, it's just look. In any case, the utility and efficiency would be massive. With low maintenance, the cost to rent wo

      • It's only efficient in the use of limited space. He spent a huge amount of money to do this. It only makes sense to spend this much on an apartment if you're an architect who is trying to show off, or if you can't get appreciably more space for your money.
        • Everything ever made was hugely expensive at one time. Shoes used to be a month's worth of pay or more; now a good set of boots costs $150 (try Belleville 770 in black leather). Hand-made shoes were quite cheap compared to today for a while, adjusted for inflation; but when leather shoes were first made they were quite costly. A lot of things were quite costly way back... plate armor used to cost several months' pay, then came down to a month and a half's pay after 600 years, due to better steel manufact

  • They didn't show what he did with the bathroom? Did he fit in a fold up tub, or has to make due with just a shower?
    His apartment reminds me of some of the displays in the Ikea showroom.

  • He could gain a large amount of storage volume (and make one wall easier to move) if he ripped all of this CDs and DVDs. Since storage in such a small apartment is going to be at a substantial premium, I'm a little surprised that he didn't do that yet.

  • Police: Are you classified as human?
    Korben Dallas: Negative, I am a meat popsicle.

    Seriously though, you do what you have to do. In Hong Kong you have to live in tight space unless you are a billionaire basically, other places you can have miles and miles of open space to yourself.

    It's not about 'eco' anything for this guy, it's about space efficiency because he has no choice.

    By the way, in HK he can become rich selling his solutions.

  • I have less then 32MÂ (In real numbers). I have a bathtub, not a shower. I have a kitchen part, big desk with 3 24" screens and a queen sized bed.

    I have no need of moving walls around and I could do even with less space. Most important space to use is under the bed. LOTS of space there.

    Sure, I can't invite people over (well, not more then 1 at a time) but then there are plenty of places to go to.

    • You're lucky. I don't even have a bath or a shower. My bathroom is the shower. I have a shower head and drain next to the toilet.

      • My friend installed a shower stall in his old man's home made RV (1959 Dodge Stepvan with a '55 DeSoto V8). You had to sit ON the toilet to shower though.

      • You don't really need a toilet. Just open a window and let it fly!
  • ...but you still live in a box, dude. That's no way to live.
  • Ugggg... this just drives home the latest statistic that I heard. The housing prices here in Hong Kong have increased 70% in the last two years. Unfortunately these kinds of modifications and specialized furniture usually cost an arm and a leg. Well, the most economical space saving design I've done is to import a Kindle. Lord knows I can't afford the give up anymore space to books.

  • by MrLogic17 ( 233498 ) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @01:08PM (#36085016) Journal

    Now, 89ft, that's tiny. And these have a bathroom, of differing levels of completeness. []
    Lots of YouTube videos of tours are out there- get the mind thinking about how much wasted space we have.

  • two full adults and it was totally functional. much more functional than this.
  • About half of my house is space I only go into to drop or look for stuff. I don't get why people put themselves through that kind of life for any longer than it takes to get the fuck out of it.

  • I'm a single guy living in a 3 bedroom, 2 car garage house. Waste of space? Yes and no. I need the garage to work on vehicles and a once car garage is insanely small for storing tools and having space to move around your car and motorcycle. I've got my office and exercise equipment in the finished basement. One bedroom and the formal dining room are never used. Houses tend to add amenities as price and # of bedrooms increase, and it's those amenities I want. The wasted space just comes with the packa

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      I think this design is awesome, but I can't imagine living in a space so small I had no real estate to spread out a project to work on.

      I agree - I think there is an inverse relationship between the need for tidy-ness and square footage - the smaller the space, the greater your need to be tidy, larger spaces can accomodate a less tidy person/family.

      My current living space is very large, we could get by with less I'm sure, but we've stuffed it with "treasures" we can't seem to part with. I am as guilty as any

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.