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Bedfellow is an autonomous robot bed which seeks out new engagements. In other words, I have robotized my personal bed to socialize and share itself with others.

Perhaps a little bit more of an explanation is in order. A bedfellow can be defined as a “person who shares a bed with another.” While it is typically assumed that bedfellows are in a mutually exclusive relationship, this sometimes is not the case. On occasion a bedfellow may go off and share your bed with a plurality of others aside from yourself. With this anomaly in mind, I have created the Bedfellow robotic bed as a potential solution. My intent in doing this was to functionally replace any wandering bedfellows. With a bed capable of sharing itself with whoever else it may chance upon, there is no need to keep someone else around to perform this function for you.

On a practical note -- Okay -- Perhaps not a practical note -- But on the technical front... This is basically an autonomous self-driving electric vehicle. Whereas companies like Google have spent millions of dollars and tasked teams of people with producing such a contraption, I did the same thing myself for a fraction of the cost. Granted, this bed is perhaps not as streetworthy as a normal automobile, but if one were to think of a car less as something to get from point-A to point-B and more as an expression of individuality -- well then -- this vehicle is much more unique and way better for picking up potential partners. No one can pass up going for a ride in my bed.

At the very least, this is probably the most elaborate IKEA hack ever created.

Step 1: About the Design

In making Bedfellow, I basically converted my personal Queen bed into an autonomous self-driving electric vehicle. Don't let its furniture-ness fool you. There is a bit of umph behind this. The bed is capable of driving with a sustained 8 horsepower of force and is capable of peaking up to 25 horsepower for a limited time. The current top speed is unknown, but it is assuredly faster than any bed should go. There is also a lot of torque behind it. It has carried up to at least 12 people at once and has not shown any noticeable signs of slowing down.


The bed was designed to support up to 3,000 pounds worth of weight, and is built around a wooden torsion box frame. The central drive column is capable of supporting the entire 3,000 pounds in its own right. I did this in case the bed encountered a highly uneven surface and all four outer casters found themselves off the ground.

The outer casters have springs to absorb some of the shock and account for uneven surfaces. However, there is no real suspension to speak of, so it is not exactly a road vehicle. A pothole might be potentially devestating. This bed was largely designed for indoor domestic use.

The two drive wheels are centrally located underneath the bed. With this wheel arrangement, the bed is capable of turning on point like a tank by rotating the wheels opposite from one another. This makes it able to move around fairly competently in tight spaces. The motors are connected to the drive wheels by way of a 20:1 gear reduction. Without this, the whole thing would move very - very - fast. This gear reducer is basically a giant worm drive mechanism that reduces the bed's movement to gallery-friendly speeds.

There are two high-powered DC motors being controlled by two Alltrax motor controllers. These controllers are typically used in golfcarts and other electric vehicles. My specific model is capable of handling up to 400 amps. In the motor control circuit there is also a solenoid for engaging the power, and a reverse contactor for reversing motor direction. Each motor has its own seperate drive circuit and battery bank. Currently the drive system is operating at 24V, but I can be boosted to 48v for increased speed. However, traveling any faster than it is currently capable is likely not a good idea. There are also two chargers for each battery bank onboard.

The whole system is being controlled by an Arduino Mega which is reading 12 ultraonic sensors and interfacing the Alltrax motor controllers. The logic is rather simple. It is basically picking a random direction to move, checking to see if there is anything very close by in that direction, and then if all is clear - it moves. If there is something in the way, it picks another direction randomly and tries again. There are four safety bumpers which are connected to the Arduino using interrupts. If they are hit, the bed immediately stops moving and restarts its routine.

This may seem simple and arbitrary, but people interface with it as though it has intelligence and is purposefully considering them. Since this robot is rather large, people approach it as an equal and it creates a relationship between person and machine that none of my other smaller robots have ever really seemed to capture.

As already mentioned, the entire system was built around my personal Queen-sized bedframe and incorporated my actual mattress. The frame itself was a standard Ikea box frame. The aspects of the bed frame that were maintained are no longer particularly structural, but rather aesthetic. It is a bit like tearing down an entire building, but keeping the facade.

<p>The power specs of this bed are incredible!! Should have been really fun working on it. My motorcycle has ~5 kW and it goes 50 mph, this bed can probably go at highway speeds if the aerodynamics and overall frame stability at high speeds are taken care of!</p>
<p>Thanks so much for sharing in so much detail. I also really like your rationale for sharing something even when others won't necessarily reproduce it.</p>
<p>This is pleasure to watch... and i used to think lnstructable with great magnitude is hard for anyone to replicate. But now i see you point about simply the joy of seeing how things are made encourages me!!</p>
<p>Lol. Some guys from Perth decided to expand your idea: </p><p>http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-17/police-inves...</p>
<p>ROBOT BED??????????? AWESOMEST THING EVER! I should know, I am an EXPERT on awesome things. Ask Amy or Rory. Or my TARDIS. They'll tell you I'm an expert on awesomeness, OBVIOUSLY.</p>
<p>Calvin &amp; Hobbs... </p>
<p>hmm I wonder if you could do the same thing with a chair. if I had the time and money ide use an old electric wheelchair with an ikea chair built around it</p>
<p>You can get an old electric wheelchair for pennies off Craigslist (or similar). Typically they just need new batteries. Wiring into an electric wheelchair controller with an Arduino is a little bit tricky, but not impossible.</p>
<p>Amazing job, Randy!</p>
<p>Thanks Mario!</p>
<p>Nice bed but it wouldn't fit in my room. However, the chair with the red cushions in the corner looks nice. Did you make it yourself? Can you please post more detailed photos of it? That would fit nicely in my room. I may even make it robotic.</p>
<p>What if it turns on while you are asleep?</p>
<p>haha, this is amazing :P Such a cool idea!</p>
<p>extraordinary bed </p><p>by any measure and any standard</p>
<p>I started to read each step without having looked at the # of steps. ... then got to step 15, and wondered ... WOW! 74 Steps - and the List of Materials! Then I scrolled to see the comments - CONFIRMED. This is def qualified for the Mad Science Over-Engineered Award. Bravo!</p>
<p>Ah! This is totally incredible. It's exciting to see industrial strength hardware interfacing with logic-level circuitry. I really enjoyed seeing the thoroughness that you addressed the various safety considerations.<br><br>Question: I'm looking to learn more about high-level design considerations and low-level machining/CAD/CAM. Unfortunately, I don't live near a space with lots of fancy tools. Where would be a good place (book knowledge) to start acquainting myself with this kind of thing? I studied sculpture and CS at my small liberal arts college and regret not having the opportunity for more engineering in my life.<br><br>Also, I found a minor typo in Step 65:</p><p>&quot;.... I cannot stress how important it is to make sur eevrything works before really installing it. ....&quot;<br><br>--aaevan</p>
<p>Check out here.<a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Learn-CNC-The-Hard-Way/"><br>https://www.instructables.com/id/Learn-CNC-The-Hard...</a><br><br>This is a good place to start and he links off to a lot of resources.</p>
<p>Thanks, randofo!</p>
<p>Wow. Thoughtful. Very cool too. This robot bed is a great accomplishment. Just imagining it seems pretty exceptionally creative to me but to go the next step and build it...Well, that's just inspirational in its accomplishment. </p><p> Good Job! Thanks for sharing this with us.</p>
<p>I started to watch this without looking to see who's Instructable this was. </p><p>I seen the bed spinning round and thought &quot; this looks like something randofo would build&quot;...sure enough! </p><p>Great job ! I love it when you create outside the ...what's the word ...box frame ?</p><p> Thanks for sharing,</p><p>Build_it_Bob</p>
<p>YOU RULE SOO HARD RANDY!</p>
<p>Even monogamous relationships could be improved with a device like this. I am confused though. How does your bed get through a typical door? </p>
<p>Just what every Hastens bed needs to make it PERFECT, lol</p>
<p>Okay, I can't resist...</p><p>So, you like sharing your bed with random people?</p>
<p>wow no speed\motor controller? full power on\off, wouldnt it get a bit 'jerky'? excuse the pun.</p><p>i still like it and it made me smile!: follow up idea of mine, upscale a cheap roomba style vacuum control system with motors like this, so maybe you dont have to go looking for your bed everyday!</p>
<p>It uses two Alltrax speed controllers. The ones I am using can handle up to 400A each. Speed is adjusted by a basic PWM signal from the Arduino.</p>
Gotcha! Thought you were using some sort of solenoid to engage like a high current relay. Niice work.
<p>The solenoid is a fail-safe measure. It makes sure power is only flowing when the motors are being used. Also, if anything happens to the motor controllers, the solenoids will disengage and cut the power preventing the bed from running out of control.</p>
<p>Could make a fun short film, where the bed does run out of control! &quot;Sorry Dave, it is astronaut training time.&quot;</p>
<p>Sounds like a Wallace &amp; Gromit espisode.</p>
<p>Wow, truly inspiring. No words</p>
<p>Another one who has too much free time but uses it well. Love, love the bed.</p>
<p>This is one of those project like space exploration Why ? because we can ! </p><p>Were no bed has gone before :0) </p>
<p>I know there is no such thing as overengineering, but bloody hell this behemoth comes pretty darn close, LOVE IT! aaarrrggghhh!</p>
<p>Would be handy when too drunk. Just spin opposite direction of &quot;bed spins&quot;. That might make it worse actually lol.</p>
<p>I'd say you need to get yourself a girl. But somehow I think that message may get lost in the bed shuffle. Great project though.</p>
<p>feel nauseous... bed spins....</p>
I read this in Sheldon Cooper's voice.
<p>Extra feature: follows sleep-walkers around, enticing them with a cozy bed and brings them back to the bedroom after capture.</p>
<p>damn randy, only 74 steps? well done.</p>
<p>Wheeeeee looks like fun. :) Maybe even helps you sleep too. </p>
<p>I love your "three reasons why" in step 2. </p><p>I'm going to copy/paste those and pretend I wrote them whenever the situation warrants. Thank you :)</p>
<p>*with some slight editing to point #1 as needed.</p>
<p>Point #4 was &quot;Take advantage of tools found in the big boss' home workshop and dang, sleeping in that beat-up office chair at work was getting old.&quot;</p>
<p>Do you have a license to carry that many passengers on your electric vehcile? </p>
<p>I made a permit. I submitted it with the Bureau of Robotic Furniture. </p>

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Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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