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Mar 2, 2019,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

SmartBed: Ford invents a bed that ensures a better night’s sleep

Hard on the heels of its cradle mimicking a car’s movement on the road, Ford has revealed a new prototype that seemingly has very little to do with the car industry. Named SmartBed, it makes use of pressure sensors and a conveyor belt beneath the mattress to gently roll sleepers who have encroached on their partner’s side of the bed back to their side, thus ensuring a better night’s sleep for both. The technology could have an impact on road safety. A study has revealed that 20% of serious road accidents in the UK are caused by fatigue.

Photo credits: Fort/SmartBed

According to a UK study published in November 2018, fatigue is the cause of 20% of serious road accidents in the country, a statistic that could possibly be reduced by Ford’s SmartBed. The US car manufacturer, which previously designed a cradle capable of mimicking car movements on the road, has again moved out of its main area of activity to present the SmartBed, as reported by the website BFMTV. The bed has been designed to ensure two people sharing it enjoy a good night’s sleep by keeping them both on their own side, a technological solution that some couples would no doubt welcome.

Pressure sensors taken from Ford’s Lane-Keeping Assist technology

The SmartBed is equipped with pressure sensors that prevent sleepers from encroaching on their partner’s side of the bed. Their movements are analysed by the bed’s operating system and if excessive pressure is detected on one side, the encroaching sleeper is gently rolled back on to their side with the aid of a conveyor belt positioned underneath the mattress. 

The bed, which was presented in a video released by Ford, makes use the same pressure sensors as those found in the Lane-Keeping Assist technology fitted in the Ford Edge, the carmaker’s latest SUV.

A controlled space guaranteeing a better night’s sleep

According to a UK study revealed by Ford, one person in four prefer to sleep alone so they can get a good night’s sleep, while some sleepers change position between 12 and 20 times during the course of the night, figures that seem to suggest the development of Ford’s new bed is long overdue.

When sleeping together, many couples each have less space than a small child has in a single bed,” explains sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley in The IndependentHumans are most vulnerable when sleeping, so we’re programmed to wake when something or someone touches us unexpectedly. If someone moves on to your side of the bed, this defence mechanism will kick in and you’ll have a broken night, often while they continue to sleep soundly. I’ve seen it ruin relationships.” Like its cradle, Ford’s SmartBed is expected to remain at the prototype stage and will be used mainly to promote the Lane-Keeping Assist technology now fitted in its new cars, which is bad news for couples hoping to solve their sleeping problems.

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Cover photo credits: Ivan Obolensky/Pexels

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