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Would work best for chairs/couches, though also feasible for tables, etc.
A piece of furniture consisting of a semi-tight outer covering of heat-resistant fabric/plastic (possibly kevlar, or less ideally but more affordably teflon) that encases the inner workings, which are a thin but strong skeletal
structure (smoothed down metal) surrounded by wax. A control on the side of the apparatus allows the owner to run a small electrical current through the metal skeleton which heats up the wax just enough to be pliable, but not enough to liquify. Once the wax has been heated (I'm not sure on how long this would take, but I'm guessing somewhere in the range of an hour if you don't want to venture into dangerously high levels of voltage running through it) you can mold the shape of the furniture to your desire, after which you merely let it cool down. The outer plastic covering could be left transparent/as-is, or another fabric cover could be used on top of that (the piece of furniture would never become hot enough to burn or to catch anything on fire, just warm enough to make the wax moldable.) As an added safety measure, a small audio alarm is included in case you forget to turn the thing off after x hours/minutes.
(?) Bean bag thing
Very comfy [-alx, Oct 04 2004]
||I've seen something with a similar end-result to what you describe - a bean bag that lets you suck the air out, thus retaining its shape once it's moulded to you. See link.
||[Mr Burns] - I was wondering about that too, but I'm thinking that it would be fairly easy to produce a wax that wouldn't melt from the small amount of heat we give off, by mixing it with something else (maybe some type of plastic as well).