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Is it Time for a Magnetic Floating Bed? 133

An anonymous reader writes "In one of the coolest implementations of ridiculously expensive tech to come along in a while, it seems that a Dutch architect has created a magnetically suspended bed. That is, if you happen to have a spare $1.54 million laying around you don't know what to do with and don't mind being careful about your piercings when getting the cat from under the bed."
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Is it Time for a Magnetic Floating Bed?

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  • by ET_Fleshy ( 829048 ) <(lespea) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @03:47AM (#15872022)
    considering its capabilities of advancing civilization and all.
    • Well this was a refernce to a certain alien life form from a certain movie set in space involving a computer named Hal that... Oh I just give up. --> ashamed at /.
    • If by "advancing civilization" you mean providing a new and innovative place for procreation of the species, sure. Especially since a maglev bed makes no squeaks -- great for small apartments.
      • Err... it could very well still squeak, if it's got a spring mattress.

        Of course, I'd expect a bed this expensive to use that "space-age" memory foam stuff.

        • If the magnets are strong enough, you don't need a box frame (the usual squeaking culprit). You just need a thinnish layer of padding; the mag field will provide the rest of the support needed.
          • In that case you would probably want a (somewhat) flexible platform, too -- a "thinnish layer of padding" on top of a rigid platform suspended on a magnetic field is no different than one resting directly on the ground. In other words, box springs exist because each separate spring can absorb different amounts of force, and there's nothing inherent in the design of this bed that replicats that.

            • True, so, for the next iteration they need lots of small panels linked together (kind of like Chinese armor [uakron.edu]?) instead of one large piece. This will probably require more magnets and drive the price up ... unless some enterprising engineer decides that a bed, while technologically advanced, doesn't need to be priced like a "one of a kind" artwork.
        • The memory foam stuff is a fuck of a lot cheaper than a spring bed worth sleeping on - but mostly because you don't use it alone. My ex-bed was a 5" chunk of medium-density foam, topped with 3" of memory foam. Now I'm sleeping on a pillow-top coil mattress. It has advantages and disadvantages. The foam has great support (For me - YMMV) and is very comfortable, and hardly moves on one side when someone moves around on the other side. However, it tends to suck up water, and smells, and is hard to clean. Air m
      • "Especially since a maglev bed makes no squeaks"


        Instead it makes an electrical pulsing/humming noise that seems to get louder and louder...

    • I have four words for you: pacemakers! Pacemakers! PACEmakers! PACEMAKERS!!

      What's with this strange notion of chairs floating in space I keep getting?
  • Kinda disappointing (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hemi Rodner ( 570284 ) * on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @03:50AM (#15872026) Journal
    It's held to its place with small metal wires, so it's not totally flying. I thought it'd be a solution against bed bugs and fleas, as they wouldn't be able to get on the bed. But no.
    • by Walt Dismal ( 534799 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @04:13AM (#15872070)
      Now, if these had AC magnetic fields, and you got a girlfriend with magnetic nipple piercings and a steel clit ring, she'd never want to get out of bed. Not that this would be bad, mind you. Ooops. Maybe I shouldn't have typed that at work while my boss was around... I can explain, sir! Really. I'm working, not fantasizing. I was just thinking of ways to dress up that PowerPoint presentation for you.
      • Hmmm nice idea. However, almost ALL commercial piercing metals are non-magnetic, such as titatanium, niobium, and um... adamantium.

        -Jar.
        • Adamantium as a metal? If I recall correctly, it's a rare form of unpure diamond, with the black color coming from... carbon.

          I'm not sure if what I'm thinking of isn't called adamant, though. Wikipedia has only a stub listing fictional references.
          • by Anonymous Coward
            Obsidian?
            Actually a glass, but black, volcanic, and used as a gemstone (and historically used as blades for weapons, now used in surgical scalpels too, according to the Wikipedia).
        • You mean they're non-ferromagnetic.

          Unfortunately they're all conductive so they'll heat in a changing field.
          • Piercing rings aren't closed. You, obviously, need to pass them thru the pierced hole.
            and unlike earrings, most of them have non-metallic decoration (plastic colored beads that double as nut to close the hole in the ring, or the extremities in case of open piercing, once it is in place).

            This makes them poor induction heating targets and completly unable to be repelled like a Tesla coils in alternating magnetic field.

            Some cheap earrings may be made of ferromagnetic material but it isn't advisable to wear the
            • I guess you've never waved an aluminum ruler around near an MR machine hey? Closed loops are not required.
              • Metal parts of infusion holders, table for holding various materials, or other such metallic part, are made using non-ferromagnetic metals and don't heat much.
                The magnetic field isn't varying that much around the nominal range of the MRI (the gradient used to do signal localisation doesn't from go 0 to 3Tesla, it only oscilliates closer around 3T), the rest of the thermal energy comes from the radiowaves (the Lamor frequency depends of the field and is ussually in the range of Mhz).
                Therefore most of the met
                • Actually, you'll probably find some of those references are from my lab....

                  Somewhere else (apparently) I commented that if you were to lay in the scanner (we were actually talking about a 400 MHz or 9.4T one), lie about your weight (to fool the safeties) and run an EPI sequence, you might well feel your piercings heating up. In fact, you'd find yourself heating up. If you were to run around a magnet with a decently high field you'd feel a tug on your piercings so long as they were made of ANYTHING conduct
      • I was just thinking of ways to dress up that PowerPoint presentation for you.
        With nipple and clitoral hood piercings? ;-)
      • by Flying pig ( 925874 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @05:21AM (#15872217)
        I suggest, before post on this subject, you need to do some research in the following subjects:
        • AC induction heating
        • jewellery materials
        • Girls
        Probably in that order, since research into the second item might help with research into the third item.
    • If it's gonna keep some cables than I would much rather have these cables suspended from the ceiling (although admittedly not straight perpendicular, with some angle as it is for this one).
      I can see many advantages to this vs the magnetic bed
      a) no giant magnet to pay for
      b) no giant electricity bill
      c) no 1.2 mn Euros bill (for 5K max you'd get my version)
      d) no bed bugs making their way from the floor.

      No if they knew how to stabilise the bed without cables than I would be really impressed wnd would STFU.
      Until
      • I think you have a mistake there. The bed is operated by magnets, not electromagnets. So it won't increase your electricity bill.

        But still, I'm not sure I like your solution either. Ants can still come from the ceiling. One of them woke me up yesterday.. maybe it's a hint I should wash the floor.

        Anyway, I think the best solution would be a personal laser bubble, similar to the one mentioned here [slashdot.org] (but smaller). It will destroy any nasty insect getting near me, and will take care of mosquitos as well (damn t
        • I think you have a mistake there. The bed is operated by magnets, not electromagnets. So it won't increase your electricity bill.

          Ah, that explains the price tag -- permanant magnets are much more expensive, aren't they?

          Now, what I would have done is used an elecromagnet for the base, made it concave so that it wouldn't need wires for stability, and wired the whole thing through a dimmer switch (or similar device) so that would have adjustable height.

          Not only would it be much cheaper, but with a good cont

      • Yes, I have one of these, it's called a... <checks label> "Hammock"
      • No if they knew how to stabilise the bed without cables than I would be really impressed wnd would STFU.

        I've got the answer to that, and it's stupidly easy: Instead of using a flat magnetic base, use a concave one. That way it would have opposing magnetic forces around the edges, always pushing the bed towards the center.

        • That's actually a quite smart simple idea.

          Are you sure however that there is no way in hell I could move it while jumping on the bed or else?

          I mean having a 2 ton piece of stone falling with/over you is gonna leave a mark..
          • That would depend on how concave you decided to make it -- the steeper the gradient, the more force would be required to overcome it.

            By the way, I don't think the bed is actually "a 2 ton piece of stone;" it's just finished to look like it.

    • by kfg ( 145172 ) *
      It's held to its place with small metal wires. . .

      And because it's suspended by wires from the floor to resist the magnetic force makes it totally different than if it were suspended by the same wires from the ceiling, to resist the gravitational force.

      About $1,539,900 different.

      Or you could just buy a Mayan style hammock, the most comfortable sleep in the known universe.

      KFG
    • by mrjb ( 547783 )
      Yes. You'd expect that at this price, the designer could've come up with a way to hold the bed in place magnetically. For example by having a lining of inverse-polarity magnets around the border of the bed.

      A pizza and a bottle of coke to the first slashdotter who builds a wireless floating bed under $500.
      • A pizza and a bottle of coke to the first slashdotter who builds a wireless floating bed under $500.

        I'm Pepsi generation with celiac disease. I'm out.

        What'll ya give me for just duplicating his effort for $500 in a damned sight less than six frickin' years?

        KFG
      • I just did. I'll tell you how you can too!

        What you need:

        8 water cooler jugs
        lots of duct tape or glue.

        What to do:

        1.Empty the jugs if they aren't already empty.
        2.Seal the jug, make sure its good and tight and/or permanent by using ducttape/glue
        3.Attach the jugs to the bottom of your bed.
        4.throw your bed into a pool/lake/pond, do not throw it in a river or ocean because you may wake up in a far away land.

        And there you have it, a floating bed for about $50.00 assuming that you already have a bed and a body
      • You'd expect that at this price, the designer could've come up with a way to hold the bed in place magnetically.
        You'd expect that at that price, the designer could figure out how to violate the laws of physics? It is proven that stable magnetic levitation with fixed permanent magnets is impossible. Doesn't matter how many magnets you carefully position.

        You can make it stable by using electromagnets and closed-loop feedback.

    • Small metal wires which, if you used the right metal, could hold the bed up by themseves. Cool (magnets are much fun to play with), but ultimately worthless - unless the magnetic field could be used for "other things", such as keeping your girlfriend's legs spread because of the little bit of metal in her shoes ;) A bit pricey for BDSM gear, but then again, sex toys are never cheap ;)

      I'm actually surprised that they weren't able to anchor it using magnets alone. For 1.5 million...
    • Even without wires, bugs and fleas would be able to get in the bed by hitchhiking on your person, as well as pillows and blankets.
  • Who is ever gonna buy it? I mean, there are beds with water, there are expensive cool beds, there are beds shaped like a racing car or a plane. But how much of you sleep in this kind of bed every night?
    • Kirk: (describing single life at his new apartment) And another great thing: you get your own bed! I sleep in a racing car. Do you?
      Homer: I sleep in a big bed with my wife.
      Kirk: (dejected) Oh, yeah.
  • boring (Score:3, Insightful)

    by morie ( 227571 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @04:02AM (#15872050) Homepage
    I thought for a moment that the sleeping person himself would be magnetically suspended.
  • by sepharious ( 900148 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @04:04AM (#15872051) Homepage
    No more squeaky sex!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @04:05AM (#15872054)
    ...it's just a photoshop!
  • by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @04:36AM (#15872114) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:
    "with a price tag of 1.2 million euros" [...] "It is not comfortable at the moment," admits Ruijssenaars, adding "it needs cushions and bedclothes before use."


    I can see this. You buy the bed, add some bedclothes and walk to the counter.
    Cashier: "That'll be 1.2 mln euro's, plus 20 for the bed clothes"
  • Scary! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Nuffsaid ( 855987 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @04:37AM (#15872116)
    I would be scared about lying on such a black thing. You know, one moment you are counting sheeps, one moment later everything goes trippy and you are sucked into a transhuman dimension where nothing makes sense ad you witness all your ages up to your death bed and reincarnate as a space-floating fetus. No, thanks!
  • Ejection (Score:5, Funny)

    by BrynM ( 217883 ) * on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @04:38AM (#15872121) Homepage Journal
    As someone who is hard to wake up (I love sleep when I finally remember to get some), one of my first thoughts was that it would make one hell of an alarm. Cut the power - fall to the ground. After 1 second (just before you can recover from falling), power it back up and get flung out of bed. Either you'd be wide awake or unconscious on the floor next to your ejection bed.
    • ... one of my first thoughts was that it would make one hell of an alarm. Cut the power - fall to the ground.
      Just be sure there are no animals around to crawl under the bed and nap. ;-)
    • Either you'd be wide awake or unconscious on the floor next to your ejection bed.

      And instead of flinging you straight up, what if it slowly elevated one end? Would it then be an erection bed?
       
    • You'll need a new alarm system, because your laptop may experience certain compatibility problems.

      Seriously, can anyone of you physics geeks make a rough estimate of how deadly this would be to hardware? I imagine the field would have to be very strong in order to lift person, frame, bedclothes, upper set of magnets, teddy bears and hooker.

      I don't plan to spend 1,2 megadollars, but the idea is fairly basic and should be easily/cheaply copied.
      • I wouldn't stick my laptop under it, but the field above should be very weak and should be too bad to the sides.

        Computer hardware isn't really that sensitive. I worked in a lab where CRTs were a constant pain because they'd gauss up really fast from the mobile MR scanner upstairs. LCDs were no problem though, and the hardware had no problems at all.

        It is true that one LCD monitor didn't like being put in close proximity to the scanner though....
    • Some days, that wouldn't be enough.
  • Underwhelming (Score:4, Informative)

    by aschoeff ( 864154 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @04:57AM (#15872169)
    Why is this news?

    Okay, so some guy with a slick-sounding name took a sheet of plywood, a whole bunch or permanent magnets, some steel cabling, and put them together. When I first heard about this over a week ago, I didn't bother to RTFA and assumed there were no cables. That actually impressed me, the thought he solved the problem of movement along the field lines using just magnetism. I had thoughts of some sophisticated system of electromagnets continually detecting and adjusting the field to keep the bed aligned, or at least some sort of damping configuration to justify the absurd price!

    But no, as usual, it's just another laughable device to separate scientifically-ignorant wealthy people from their money.

    I hope he patents it! LOL
    • Trust me, that name is anything BUT slick here in The Netherlands.
    • . . .a sheet of plywood . . .

      Oh sure, you put it that way to put him down, but really, his accomplishment is far greater than that:

      He used two sheets of plywood and a tuba quartet for spacers. That implies actual carpentry, for sufficiently small values of carpentry.

      And don't forget the spray painting. That Rustoleum is tricky stuff.

      KFG
    • by grimJester ( 890090 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @07:44AM (#15872522)
      But no, as usual, it's just another laughable device to separate scientifically-ignorant wealthy people from their money.

      I hope he patents it! LOL


      I tried patenting separating the ignorant from their money, but apparently there was some prior art.
  • Just a comment. I wonder what it would feel like to be in an earthquake while sleeping in one of these beds.
  • Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I like my matress to be fixed to solid ground. But then again, I don't really like water mattresses, either. Is there really a market for a magnetic bed?
    • Watermatresses where a fad. There's a few unfortunate realities that make them unpleasant.

      First and foremost among these, people sweat. Even under normal conditions, people sweat while sleeping. In summer when its warm, when the people engage in uhm... 'exersize' and so they sometimes sweat quite a bit.

      Fact; a watermatress prevents ventilation, it prevents moisture from escaping your bed trough the matress. Which means you're a lot more uncomfortable.

      Fact; mites and stuff that likes to live in beds (e

  • Aren't strong magnetic fields supposed to be harmful? After all, there's this fuss about living under power lines...
    • No those kooks^H^Halternative medicine experts reversed the decision on magnets about 5 years ago when they realized they could make more mone^H^H^Hthat magnets were actually helpful and can be built into magnetic bracelets and such.
    • To humans, very little or not at all. But, try sitting in your bed with a laptop...
    • Re:Magnetic field? (Score:3, Informative)

      by dbIII ( 701233 )
      For those that think it is not possible to have an effect - look at induction furnaces. For those who think you are in trouble if you live some distance away and not directly under 33kV lines - think about the inverse square law and how weak the feild is going to be even when it hits ground level. It is real (long term exposure of pregnant women to faulty EMF plastic welders proved that), but you have to be close, and the mechanism is raising the core temperature of your body by induction.

      As for the magne

      • For those that think it is not possible to have an effect - look at induction furnaces. For those who think you are in trouble if you live some distance away and not directly under 33kV lines - think about the inverse square law and how weak the feild is going to be even when it hits ground level. It is real (long term exposure of pregnant women to faulty EMF plastic welders proved that), but you have to be close, and the mechanism is raising the core temperature of your body by induction.

        Eh? Last time I ch

    • Statistical analysis of the correlation between living under high-tension power lines and childhood leukemia based on distance discovered that the rate of fall-off with distance from the power lines is far too slow to correspond to any natural phenomenon. In other words, living under power lines tends to increase the risk of childhood leukemia, but not because of the power lines. Think about it. You tend to see high-tension lines near industrial areas, which also tend to be high in various forms of carci
      • You tend to see high-tension lines near industrial areas, which also tend to be high in various forms of carcinogenic pollution, and they're usually hidden away around rich neighborhoods whose residents can better afford preventative health care that keeps their children's immune systems stronger.

        I think your second reason is valid, but not the first. Very often the power lines in question are long-distance transmission lines, which can often be found in every sort of area (commercial, residential, rural,

    • No, no, Magnetic Fields are considered harmful ONLY if they are created by French composer Jean Michel Jarre, but then again, calling those 'strong' will expose you to even more harmful laughter. So take care (with that radio, that is).
  • Could it be coupled with your alarm-clock to cut the power to the bed when the alarm rings? That would be one hell of a wake-up.
  • by chowdy ( 992689 )
    The hoverboard must not be far off!
  • a bed's design hasn't changed for thousands of years is because it's a perfect invention. We don't need NEW beds.
    • Re:The reason why (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @06:39AM (#15872391)
      If it's so perfect, why are there so many different mattresses? And water beds. And why do the Japanese have their beds directly on the floor, while we have them on legs? And...

      Nothing's perfect.
      • "Bed - A single layer of sedimentary rock or a single stratum "

        Works for me.

        KFG
      • What's even more ironic, even though Western beds do have legs, they usually don't move at all, while Japanese beds move out of the way (and into the closets) every morning...
        • Western beds have legs, and Japanese beds are moved out of the way for the same reason -- to keep critters from getting into the bed. The Japanese also beat their futon mattresses in the morning, to get out the little critters. I expect this is actually more effective than the western bed at critters that feed off of your skin.
          • Well, I was just trying to be funny, but as you invested some time in taking my remark at face value and bothered replying, you have deserved yourself an answer.
            While you have a point, and Japanese DO take precautions to keep those nasty bugs out of the bed, you are slightly wrong in two aspects there. One, where ever I have been in Japan, I hardly ever saw someone beating the shit out of their futons (bad pun, I know, however, intended none the less). They do (occasionally) hang them out to dry, that's r
    • Would someone please tell that to Barry and Elliot, Bernie and Phyll, Raymour and Flannigan, Mattress Giant, and every other furniture store whose horriblly annoying ads I have to listen to every other commercial on the way to work when I just want to hear the $#%^@$ traffic report?
  • by caveat ( 26803 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:07AM (#15872585)
    ...of all the piercing jokes, but (and I'm sure a lot of you probably already know this), any halfway decent body jewelry is completely nonmagnetic: stainless steel, titanium, or niobium. I know for sure - I have a headful of all three metals and never had any problems with a 400MHz NMR; the red line on the floor with the little flying wrench icon was like 20 feet from that sucker.
    • That's because your NMR doesn't have any gradients. Go find an imager, lie about your weight, load up a nice EPI sequence and your piercings will feel all warm and glowy. Or just run circles around your NMR and you should feel some resistance.

      A permanent magnet bed isn't going to be much fun though.
  • by Megane ( 129182 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @08:29AM (#15872672) Homepage
    The best part is that after blowing a mil and a half on this thing ($1.5M and he couldn't figure out how to get rid of the tether wires?), it will erase all your credit cards for you so that you can't be that stupid ever again.
  • Don't take your laptop to bed.

    Doh!
  • tuck the sheets in ?
  • Sort of an anti-gravity bed.

    The effects of gravity are still felt by a sleeper on this "mag-lev" bed, so it doesn't really do anything for your ability to sleep, it just has a cool furniture factor.
  • Magnetic fields?
    Cancer?
    Hello?

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