Magnetorheological Beds?

January 10, 2008

Inspired by this concept of a “Love Bed” (pictured here) [[posterous-content:hprvBwDbAjzbilgvEEls]]

I thought of ways to make a similar bed without all the complications inherent with a slotted system. That is, the surface of the bed would need to have that sort of give, while firmly supporting all others. The Tempurpedic beds are made of memory foam which is visco-elastic polyurethane. Unfortunately, they are uniformly hard across the whole surface. It would be possible to create a mattress made out memory foam strips of varying visco-elasticity, but this wouldn’t work with different body types, or sleeping configurations (I often like to sleep diagonally when I’m alone).

So, I remembered about magnetoreological fluids. These are fluids (and potentially other materials) whose visco-elasticity changes in the presence of a magnetic field. Specifically, we are interested in those which become harder in the presence of a stronger magnetic fields. This occurs because there are magnetic particles suspended within a medium, that are arranged into increasingly rigid structures in the presence of an increasingly strong magnetic field.

These have inherent disadvantages though, such as the weight of the suspended particles (iron is common) and the settling of the particles over time. These would make them seem inappropriate as a material for a mattress. Instead, I’m thinking of a foam mattress, perhaps the very same memory foam mentioned above, which is permeated by magnetic particles, varying the hardness of the foam in much the way it works in magnetorheological fluids.

Potential obstacles would be the need to maintain rather strong and large magnetic fields. These can be solved by replacing a full permeation of the foam with a mesh of tubes filled with a magnetorheological fluid.

Whatever way, I think some sort of bedding that does not actually affect body position, and compensates as much as possible for the unfortunate effects of gravity is both necessary and forthcoming.

Magnetorheological Beds? - January 10, 2008 - Michael Katsevman