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Turning a Floating Idea Into Reality

Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars has constructed a bed that makes people who sleep on it feel as if they are floating on air.

Hold on, wait a minute -- maybe this is because they actually are floating on air.

It seems impossible, something more likely to be seen in a sci-fi movie than in reality, but it's true.

The floating bed, which debuted a year ago, does in fact hover in midair, precisely 40 centimeters (about 15½ inches) above the ground.

And apart from four cables -- one attached at each of its corners to keep the bed in place and from flying up further -- the ethereal block holds no connection with the floor.

The ultra-chicness of the product is mesmerizing. Still, one can't help but wonder: how is the floating bed able to defy gravity? The key here, Ruijssenaars explains, lies in a pair of inlaid repelling magnets, one set inside the bed and the other built directly into the floor underneath.

Have no fear: "Apart from possible implants one might have, the permanent magnetic field has, according to qualified specialists, no influence on the human body," the inventor says. "Also, the magnetic field on top of the bed will be reduced to a negligible level, so electronic devices such as laptops and cell phones can be used on top of it."

Measuring about 10 feet by 4½ feet, the bed is constructed to withhold a staggering 1,984 pounds. Plus, the magnetic system "is guaranteed to last a lifetime," Ruijssenaars says. That's a good thing, considering the price for the bed, including on-location installation, is 1.2 million euros (approximately $1.62 million).

The bed can be purchased online through Ruijssenaars' Amsterdam-based start-up architecture firm, Universe Architecture . As of now, no beds have been sold, but there are interested individuals and companies, he says.

The Persistent Path

The floating bed, Ruijssenaars explains, is an idea that was sparked from the sleek rectangular monoliths featured in Stanley Kubrick's science-fiction masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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