Ford has invented a prototype bed that automatically rolls selfish sleepers back to their side of the mattress whenever they stray onto the other half.
The car maker has adapted the lane-centring assist technology used to ensure drivers remain in the middle of their lane into a concept dubbed the Lane-Keeping Bed, in a bid to help sleep-deprived partners pushed to the edge of the bed at night.
Pressure sensors detect when a person moves from one side of the bed to the other, and gently rolls them back to their side with the help of an integrated conveyor belt.
The Lane-Keeping Bed was created as part of an exploratory project of the company’s technology aimed at tackling everyday problems and remains a prototype, meaning there are not any current plans to put it to market.
“When sleeping together, many couples each have less space than a small child has in a single bed,” said Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep expert and author.
“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 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.”
“Lane-Keeping Assist in our cars can make driving easier and more comfortable,” added Anthony Ireson, Ford of Europe’s marketing communication director.
“We thought that showing how similar thinking could be applied to a bed, would be a great way to highlight to drivers a technology that they might not previously have been aware of.”
Recent research by the AA estimated that up to 25% of fatal car accidents are caused by drivers who have fallen asleep at the wheel, though the main reasons given for driving when tired were a long day at work, the general monotony of the journey, and because it was late at night.