A German city has created sleep pods for the homeless

Last updated at 11:44
sleep-pod.Ulster Nest
The pods have been installed in the German city of Ulm

Lots of homeless people may end up having to sleep on the streets and Winter time can be particularly tough.

A German-based team is trying to tackle this head on. It's installed sleeping pods across the German city of Ulm to provide the homeless with emergency shelter at night.

The team, which consists of six business people from Ulm with expert knowledge in designing and developing products, first came up with the idea for the sleeping capsules back in 2018.

The first pods were tested outside last winter. However, some changes have been made to the design since then.

sleep-pod.Ulster Nest
The Ulster Nests provide the homeless with emergency shelter

The pods, which are known as Ulster Nests, are made from wood and steel and are both windproof and waterproof. They're designed to keep up to two people protected from the elements, including rain, frost and humidity.

However, the creators have stressed that the capsules aren't an alternative to staying in proper overnight accommodation, especially as the city of Ulm can reach very low temperatures.

The sleep pods have also been fitted with solar panels and they even come complete with enough room to house users' belongings and a furry friend!

sleep-pod.Ulster Nest

They've been fitted with sensors which can monitor temperature, humidity, smoke and carbon dioxide levels and an electronic verification system so those using it can lock the capsule from the inside. They also have lighting, an alarm signal buzzer and a ventilation system.

There are no cameras in the pods to protect people's privacy. However, when the doors are opened, this triggers a motion sensor which lets social workers who check the pods know they've been used so they can get them cleaned, and so they can also provide help to those who might need it.

The team behind the pods say they're still in there early testing stage and a lot of work is taking place to improve the capsules and how they function. However, the response to the pods in Ulm has been very positive so far.

sleep-pod.Ulster Nest
The pod in the early design stages

"For this winter, we modified details of our door in an effort to improve usability both for the people sleeping in the Nests and the social workers checking in on them. Also, we spent a good deal of time improving insulation and climate management, to be able to keep humidity and temperature at the best possible levels while operating on a limited budget of energy," one of the the Ulmer Nest team members told Bored Panda.

"We are still operating on a small-scale prototype level, and are looking into finding possible prospective user (cities) and ways of manufacturing bigger numbers of the Nests if there's sufficient demand for it," he said.

What do you think of the sleep pods? Do you think they would work well where you live? Let us know in the comments!

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