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Project 5: Sensory Bed


The purpose of this project was to design and build a bed that is both safe and calming for a 20-month-old. The child has trouble sleeping, and was injuring himself at night; so, the bed was designed to tackle this problem in a way that would be fun for a child.

(From Left: Reed, Jack, Jack 2, Lucas, Shamar, Josh, Steven, and Connor. Not pictured: Andrew)

Design Specifications

Specifically, we needed to design a bedframe with enough extra protection to support the area around the head. To fulfill such a need, our team approached the bed from the position of built-in walls that prevent falling off, and slots for sliding padding onto said walls. In addition, the extra sensory add-ons were decided to be wheel- and monster-truck-related, so to make the child happy the going plan is to design their bed to look like a monster truck. Fun!

Background Research

Required background research included delving into children’s bed designs, and how to make one safer and/or more durable. A crib with more sensory features was desired, so research into beds that rock was done. Rocking children’s bedframes do exist, however combining such a bed with extra padding would be new territory. In addition, a bed that uses mesh padding to create walls and a ceiling around the bed – to muffle sound and light for easier sleep – was also looked into. Such examples, at this time, are likely to be incorporated into the bed in order to make the most soothing toddler bed possible.

Concept Design 1

Design 1 uses an early concept of a possible crib-shaped bed. it would be walled in on almost each side, but with openings on either side to make getting in easier for the child.

Concept Design 2

Design 2 made a similar approach to the previous one. This crib design incorporates extra storage space and a clearly defined back, but otherwise isn’t too different from the first one.

Concept Design 3

Our final design appears to be the nicest, as it has the most attention to detail. This one has extra supports under the mattress and only one opening.

Selected Concept Design

Using the decision matrix, design 3 became the primary design used in future production.

Decision Matrix

Overview of Selected Design

Based on the initial meeting with our child’s family, we plan to build our sensory bed to the specifications of the mother (she says her child LOVES monster trucks).

Describe Design Details

The design that we created and presented to the family is shown here. It includes a detachable board in the shape of a truck frame, per Sutton’s request. There are 18″ wheels on the inside frame of the bed that are able to be spun from the outside of the bed. The padding will cover the inside of the bed, eliminating any physical harm that could be had from the metal rod.

Engineering Analysis 1

A stress analysis was done on a perpendicular support beam that would help hold the mattress up. This represents the scenario in which the only load acting on a beam is positive bending due to the bed resting on top of it. The relevant stress analysis is shown below.

Engineering Analysis 2

A stress analysis was done on a vertical beam that will be supporting the wheel. There will be two fixture  holding this into place as shown on the diagram. The analysis was done with 50 pounds of weight on the end of the beam (where the wheel would be placed).

Engineering Analysis 3

A simple stress analysis on the railing beam for the bed is shown here. As the beam will be fixed at both ends, it would in theory only experience a flexural force depending on which way it might be pushed or pulled. (Relevant stress analysis shown below.)

Bill of Materials

Project Summary/Reflection

The bed was successfully completed with no loose ends remaining. Based on the original design parameters we had to meet: the bed has padding to make it safer for our kid; it has a steering wheel and buttons he can press with truck noises, to give him things to play with while in bed; it also has a monster truck design on the outside, along with 3d truck wheels and an authentic paint job with flame decals. Overall, the bed appears to meet the specifications of the design: padded and smooth, while also looking like a monster truck. It will be harder to fall out due to the bed walls, and also comes with its own mattress.


2023 Spring