Levitating Bed Vonnegut's Future Now

Floating furniture? In his 1959 novel The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut created the idea of furniture with no legs:

The office was spookily furnished, since none of the furniture had legs. Everything was suspended magnetically at the proper height. The tables and the desk and the bar and the couches were floating slabs.
(Read more about Kurt Vonnegut's floating furniture)

It turns out that a young Dutch architect has created a floating bed that uses magnetic forces to hover without legs.


(Floating bed furniture)

His inspiration? The monolith from Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. If he had just extended his sf reading a bit, he would have discovered that Kurt Vonnegut had anticipated him by forty-five years.

Janjaap Ruijssenaars explains his reasoning for the magnetic lift in this way:

"No matter where you live all architecture is dictated by gravity. I wondered whether you could make an object, a building or a piece of furniture where this is not the case -- where another power actually dictates the image."

The price for this sleeping platform? A mere $1.54 million. He should be careful; the magnetic furniture in Vonnegut's novel was not an economic success due to impracticality and expense.

Sleeping is apparently a popular topic for sf authors; check out these science-fictional sleep favorites:

  • Bedog
    A comfy canine.
  • Freefall couch
    Relax in no gravity.
  • Waterbed
    This Heinlein favorite kept the 1960's creator of the waterbed from getting a clear patent.
Read more at Designer creates floating bed; thanks to Mike Billa for contacting us with the sf reference and tip on the story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/8/2006)

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