Earthquakes are terrifying, dangerous events, especially so if one wakes you suddenly from sleep. Right now, the internet hivemind is having a collective nightmare over one dreamed-up solution.
Tech blog Gizmodo posted a gif and video yesterday, Dec. 16, of a bed that appears to be designed to keep sleepers safe during earthquakes. The bed basically swallows you whole upon detecting a quake and shelters you in its protective stomach. Inside would be a stock of supplies to sustain you, but even so, people seem a little horrified by the idea.
The swallowed-whole approach is actually just one of six different bed designs shown, but all entail the bed covering the sleeper, one way or another, to shelter her from falling debris.
The person who posted the original video identified the beds as the work of Chinese inventor Wang Wenxi. It’s not immediately clear if that’s the case, and additional details are scarce, though Wang Wenxi was awarded a patent in 2010 for a quake-proof bed that converts into a strongbox.
Wang Wenxi is a retiree who saw a need for a protective bed after earthquakes devastated Wenchuan and Yushu in China in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
“The Wenchuan and Yushu earthquakes caused heavy casualties, so I thought the most serious thing I could do was to invent something to reduce the toll in lives,” he said after winning his patent. “I think my life-saving bed is useful, especially suitable for brick-and-concrete low-rise buildings and bungalows.”
A patent is far from an actual product, so you probably shouldn’t expect to see beds like this in stores anytime soon. But at least one separate company has gone so far as to build a real-life prototype of an earthquake-proof bed, shown in a different video posted to YouTube in 2012. Theirs, however, seems a little less voracious.