Many homeless people sleep on a park bench or on the street, and winter time can be especially difficult.
A team based in Germany has installed wind- and waterproof futuristic sleeping capsules in the German city of Ulm to provide emergency accommodation for the homeless at night. It is a pilot project that is now attracting international attention.
The sleeping pods/capsules, known as the Ulmer Nest, are said to offer protection, especially in winter when the temperatures are below zero.
Ulm nests are made of wood and steel and effectively protect users from rain or strong winds. They are equipped with solar panels and a range of sensors that can monitor temperature, humidity, smoke and carbon dioxide. The pods are designed so that up to two people are protected from rain, frost and moisture and air circulation is guaranteed.
In addition, Ulmer nests are connected to a radio network through which their users can contact the team that monitors the cabins. They also protect the user’s privacy by not including cameras. Instead, there is a motion sensor that alerts social workers or Ulmer Nest members that someone has spent the night in the capsule. The next day, a volunteer will be responsible for cleaning the capsule for anyone who may need it. The capsules are not intended for long-term overnight stays.
Also, the design is fire resistant and includes an electronic verification system so those who use it can lock the capsule from the inside.
The first sleeping capsules were installed in Ulm in winter 2020 as part of a pilot project. However, some changes have been made to the design since then. The capsules are still in the early stages of testing and a lot of work is being done to improve the capsules and how they work. If successful, they can be used throughout Germany.
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