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Self-assembling furniture 'grows like popcorn'

5 April 2013 Last updated at 00:15 BST

Assembling your own furniture, after you have brought it home from the showroom, is a nightmare for many people.

So, what if flat-pack furniture was smart enough to assemble itself?

Belgian designer and engineer Carl de Smet is experimenting with a kind of smart foam technology, which he believes could do just that.

Once heated to a set temperature, the material he works with, shape memory polyurethane (SMPU), will expand to a given design.

Currently working with scaled-down models, de Smet is close to building the technology to achieve the effect with full-size furniture.

Ahead of its formal unveiling at the Milan Design Week festival on Tuesday, he gave BBC News a sneak preview at his Brussels studio.

Video Journalists: Dougal Shaw and Nastaran Tavakoli-Far