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Project 12: Sensory Bed


The goal of our project is to design and assemble a sensory bed that will allow the child to have a safe and calming environment to relax. The sensory bed will assist the child in handling overstimulation.

Steven Sugg, Luke Collins, Ethan Haynes, Baron Marshall, Shantini West

Problem Statement

During the fall semester of 2023, we five students in Dr. Canfield’s ME 3610 course at Tennessee Tech hope to improve the life of a local Cookville child who has difficulties with overstimulation and feeling safe in a sleep setting. We aim to fix this issue by designing and constructing a Sensory Bed with Black Out Curtains so the child can have a safe place to relax.

Design Specifications

– Keep at temperature range of 65 °F to 70 °F, include a fan
– Calming LED lights on interior (twinkle lights), but be able to be completely dark.
– Bed frame has to be flat on the ground. (No legs)
– Minnie Mouse themed
– Include a safety railing
– Be fully enclosed with a cloth canopy
– Have a zip-open window and doors
– The child should be able to fully stand-up inside
– Be fully portable
– Prefers soft textures
– Have a fully adjustable tablet stand that locks into place
– Has pica, use blankets to cover all solid accessible materials.

Background Research

For the heating and cooling element of our design, Steven consulted Dr. Ahmed Abounassif about how to get the ideal temperature of the bed through heat transfer.

For the fan, we decided to use an HG Power 4 Inch Inline Duct Fan due to its compact size high performance, and low noise output.

For the material we would like to use for the blackout curtains we have decided on Kevlar due to its low thermal conductivity and it being very difficult to tear or rip.

For the structural integrity of the bed frame, Ethan is consulting Dr. Sally Pardue about how to prevent buckling and displacement when a force is applied to various parts of the bed frame.

We looked at an example of an overhanging umbrella for Concept Idea 1, a folding canopy for Concept Design 2 and a mesh enclosure for Concept Design 3.


Concept Design 1


  • Easy to Build
  • Lightweight
  • Cheapest



  • Susceptible to falling
  • Poor Ventilation

Concept Design 2


  • Structurally
  • Great Ventilation
  • Meets most Criteria



  • Expensive
  • Top Heavy

Concept Design 3


  • Safest
  • Meets all Criteria
  • Has extra storage space
  • Good Ventilation



  • Expensive
  • Heavy

Selected Concept Design

We chose design 3 as it met the most constraints and added more features to the benefit of the child and family. The design of concept 3 is child safe as there are no rough edges compared to design concept 1 or 2.

Decision Matrix


2023 Fall