Furniture And Motors Make A Strange Bedfellow

Beds! They don’t move around enough, so the young people say. They need more motors, more horsepower, more self-driving smarts – right? Honestly, we’re not sure, but if that’s the question being asked, [randofo] has the answer.

Aptly named, Bedfellow is an art project that sought to create a bed that could explore and socialise with occupants aboard. The core principle was not just to create a bed that could move under its own power, but one that could intelligently drive around and avoid obstacles, too. This is achieved through the use of ultrasonic sensors, with an Arduino Mega as the brains. The bed chooses a random direction in which to move, checking for obstacles on the way. It’s pretty basic as far as “self-driving” technology goes, but it gets the job done.

Far from being a lightweight artistic statement, the bed has some serious performance credentials. The drivetrain is a couple of 4 horsepower DC motors with speed controllers cribbed from a golf cart. These are fed through a 20:1 gear reduction to boost torque and avoid the bed moving too quickly. [Randofo] reports it can comfortably haul 12 people without slowing down, and we don’t doubt it. With that much power, your average flatback bed would be ripped to pieces, but never fear for this one – there’s plenty of heavy engineering holding it together.

It’s refreshing to see an art project executed with both elegant aesthetics and brutally powerful hardware. Sure, it might not be much good for sleeping unless you live in a loft with a concrete floor, but hey – they’re awfully popular these days. Now all it needs are some ground effects.

15 thoughts on “Furniture And Motors Make A Strange Bedfellow

  1. I find this somewhat fascinating. but TBH I’d honestly prefer if it -didn’t- have so much power behind it, no safeguards so if it’s riding around with “11” people on it and you brush a bystander into the wall, it’s going to leave a mark.

    For practicality sake, I’d want it to haul no more than 3-4 people’s worth of weight before bogging down, maybe even a current detect threshold so it knows if it’s doing something it shouldn’t. capacitive bumpers around the edges also perhaps.

    But my personal preferences on bedridden locomotion aside, it looks like a solid build.

  2. I would really love to try a bed that would move stealthily through the house while I sleep so that I would not know in which room and in which orientation I might wake up. Such a bed would have to move very slowly and constantly and maybe watch the occupant’s sleep to stop whenever he or she might wake up.
    But as my current bed is a double water bed weighing about 800kg, that is rather not likely to happen.

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