Anyone who has shared a bed knows how annoying it can sometimes be when, in the middle of the night, you wake up to find yourself perched precariously on the outer edge of the mattress having been pushed there by your bed-hogging partner.
The slumber-related squeeze pretty much guarantees you a rotten night’s sleep, leaving you feeling drained and lethargic for the whole of the following day.
Well, Ford appears to have come up with the perfect solution for dealing with these so-called “space invaders.” Drawing on skills learned in the autonomous-car space, the automaker has designed the “lane-keeping bed” to ensure that “even the most selfish bed mate stays ‘in lane’ through the night.”
The ingenious contraption essentially rolls selfish sleepers back into their rightful place on their side of the bed, meaning you won’t be rudely awoken every half hour as they shift, shove, and shuffle their way into your own space.
Ford’s smart bed uses pressure sensors to identify when someone has strayed from their side of the mattress. When activated, an integrated conveyor belt gently returns the other person to their side. Clever, eh?
The “lane-keeping” system is a safety-focused, driver-assist technology that’s already incorporated into most of Ford’s vehicles. It works using sensors that analyze approaching road markings. If they detect the car veering off course, the system gently guides it back into the correct lane by “nudging” the steering wheel in the appropriate direction. Ford says the technology complements other camera-based systems that help prevent drivers from accidentally straying out of their lane.
Ford is fast getting a reputation for quirky, attention-grabbing inventions that serve to highlight its car technology. Remember, for example, its sleep-inducing crib that simulates the gentle hum and vibrations of a moving car? Or the noise-canceling dog kennel designed to keep canines stress-free in noisy environments?
‘Sleeping two in a bed can be problematic’
Before embarking on the creation of its latest invention, Ford’s engineering team got in touch with Dr. Neil Stanley, an independent sleep expert and author of How to Sleep Well, to learn more about the importance of a good night’s rest and how sleeping two in a bed can sometimes be problematic.
“When sleeping together, many couples each have less space than a small child has in a single bed,” Stanley said. “Humans are most vulnerable when sleeping, so we’re programmed to wake when something or someone touches us unexpectedly. If someone moves onto your side of the bed, this defense mechanism will kick in and you’ll have a broken night, often while they continue to sleep soundly. I’ve seen it ruin relationships.”
Now, if Ford’s invention sounds like the bed of your dreams, then you’ll need to persuade the company to commercialize it, as it’s only a prototype for now.
After that, all we’ll need is a surefire way to end snoring.