This summer, The New Yorker reminded everyone in the Pacific Northwest that we’re pretty much doomed if an earthquake hits. Advice on what to do in the event of a quake is basically drop, cover your head, and hold on, but there are people working on finding ways to make people safer during these disasters — like the earthquake-proof bed.
The bed is the brainchild of Russian inventor Dahir Semenov. (In 2010, Wang Wenxi received a patent in China for a similar design, according to Gizmodo.) Here’s how it works: When the ground starts shaking, sensors detect the movement and automatically trigger a series of events. The mattress drops you down into a panic-room-like chamber, and a lid slides over top to protect you from debris.
There are a few different designs featured in the video, but the most disconcerting is the one where the sides of the mattress flip up before you sink into the box, like a scary magic trick. The tops could either close with hinges, like a trunk; slide over sort of like a trapdoor; or have a two-door design and close over you from both sides of the bed.
These are all prototypes, but one thing I noticed is these beds are all made for single people. Is that because other bed-related activities could inadvertently cause the sensors to think the earth is literally moving, instead of just metaphorically?
The beds also seem to require stepstools to get in them, so that the boxes below have enough room for you, your mattress, and a bunch of food and water supplies. The video doesn’t show how you then leave the relative safety of your bed box, but some photos of prototypes show people crawling out of a door on the side of the box.
While the bed seems to have a few wrinkles to iron out, designer Arthur Brutter is working to bring his table, which can withstand a ton of weight (literally), to earthquake-prone regions.