A bed that listens

A unique therapeutic bed, which responds to voice commands to improve the quality of life of the disabled, was co-designed by a quadriplegic who was disillusioned with the products for the disabled that are on the market. Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) Technology Station in Electronics (TSE) partnered him in the project.

André Viljoen won a South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) award with this design in 2002. With the help of TSE, the prototype has been developed and it is now ready to be sold.

The bed is equipped with four additional wall plugs to which any four household appliances can be connected. This makes it possible to control appliances such as bed lamps from the bed, either by manual switches or by voice command.

With the help of a joystick or programmable voice commands, the user can give the bed the following commands, independently from one another:


Tilt to the side up to 45 degrees
Lean forward up to an angle of 45 degrees
Move from a horizontal position to a sitting position.

Movable and easily adjustable sides ensure that the user can be effortlessly transferred to another bed or to a wheelchair. The bed is fitted with three ordinary, but modified, foam-rubber mattresses. Each mattress is held in place with Velcro strips, which makes it easy to get close to the user when he or she has to be washed or removed from the bed. The tilting ability of the bed makes expensive inflatable mattresses unnecessary.

Contact information:
André Viljoen
Tel: (012) 361 6945
E-mail: velskoen@mweb.co.za

Technology Station in Electronics
SJ Jacobs
Tel: (012) 318 5039
Fax: (012) 318 4166
E-mail: jacobssj@tut.ac.za

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