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Bed Time: 11 Imaginative Places to Sleep

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Creative beds aren't just for kids. People of all ages can enjoy a little imagination in the design of their sleeping chambers.

1. A Cuddly Page-Turner

If you love books and down comforters, Yusuke Suzuki’s Play Bed might just be the greatest bed ever. When the kids aren’t napping, they can flip the page and use all the fun cloth settings to create their own fantastic tales.

2. A Bookcase Bed

Karen Babel designed this bed as a perfect way to get the most use out of a limited amount of space. The bed is held up against the wall using a few cleverly designed bookshelves and when it’s needed, it can just be removed and pushed together to create a mattress. It might not be the most convenient way to put away a daily sleeper, but it would be great for visitors.

3. An Illuminated Sleeper

Even the coolest beds still tend to look rather boring once the lights are off. Philippe Boulet’s Poesy bed challenges that concept by giving the bed its own gorgeous lighting system that can change colors and intensity as needed. The result is a beautiful bed that can cast your romantic moods in the perfect light and wake you up with your favorite shade of sunrise.

4. A Rocking Frame

Water beds are a great way to fall asleep rocking on the waves of an imaginary ocean, but you’re in serious trouble if they spring a leak. For something a lot less dangerous, why not try a Private Cloud rocking bed?

5. A Tasty Treat

Kayla Kromer understands just how much Americans love burgers. We don’t just want to shove them in our faces—we want to crawl into our fast food favorites before dozing off to dream about milkshakes and French fries. While this would ordinarily be a rather greasy and stinky ordeal, Kromer’s cheeseburger bed allows us to relax under a lettuce sheet without any mess or fuss.

6. A Geeky Fantasy

Fast food isn’t Kayla Kromer’s only passion. She also enjoys great sci-fi films—or at least those that involve a certain Princess and her magical brother fighting off their corrupted father. For those who dream of gold bikinis, this Milennium Falcon bed is just the thing to set you off into your (dream) space.

7. A Nesting Space

Merav Eitan and Gas­ton Zahr created A Giant Birdsnest for Breeding New Ideas as part of the Green Gar­den Exhibition. What better way to get back to nature than to let your kids sleep like baby birds do? Of course, regurgitating their food for them is something best left up to the avian professionals.

8. A Queenly Coach

Here's one for every little girl who dreams of being a princess. PoshTots sells this fantasy coach bed at a price that only true princesses can afford—a staggering $47,000.

9. A Dreamy Playhouse

The Sweet Dream Bed is another option. It's cheaper, clocking in at anywhere from $5,000-$40,000, and instead of just getting a bed, your little princess also gets a gorgeous playhouse and an indoor slide.

10. An Igloo of Books

If you looked at those last two beds and asked yourself, “why are kiddos the only ones to get playhouses?,” Point Architects from Tokyo have you covered. The Uroko House is an adult’s playhouse adorned with some of the thinker’s favorite toys—books!

11. A Twisted Dreamspace

While this Roller Coaster Bed might not be the most comfortable thing on this list, it’s certainly the closest to a bed you might actually envision in your sleep. Cuban artists Los Carpinteros created the pieces to explore the limitations of our current interior design. To be fair, though, it’s probably easier to sleep in this bed than it is to find sheets for it.
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While these beds are fairly expensive and rare, it is possible to carve or paint fun designs on your bed frame. Are any of you sleeping on beds that are anything but normal?

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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iStock
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Why Your iPhone Doesn't Always Show You the 'Decline Call' Button
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When you get an incoming call to your iPhone, the options that light up your screen aren't always the same. Sometimes you have the option to decline a call, and sometimes you only see a slider that allows you to answer, without an option to send the caller straight to voicemail. Why the difference?

A while back, Business Insider tracked down the answer to this conundrum of modern communication, and the answer turns out to be fairly simple.

If you get a call while your phone is locked, you’ll see the "slide to answer" button. In order to decline the call, you have to double-tap the power button on the top of the phone.

If your phone is unlocked, however, the screen that appears during an incoming call is different. You’ll see the two buttons, "accept" or "decline."

Either way, you get the options to set a reminder to call that person back or to immediately send them a text message. ("Dad, stop calling me at work, it’s 9 a.m.!")

[h/t Business Insider]

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