The 43-year-old research fellow with Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies believed the primates would know what kind of bed ensures the soundest sleep.
From that inspiration, the “humankind evolution bed” was developed, and it is now on display at the Kyoto University Museum in Sakyo Ward as part of an exhibition themed on “sleep.”
Chimpanzees migrate in quest of food. When they arrive at a favourable destination, they stack folded tree branches on top of trees to build a bed, with a depression in the centre, to sleep in.
Zamma, a primatologist, said the chimp bedding enveloped his body in a natural shape and rocked him to just the right extent.
“It was the most comfortable bed I had ever slept in in my life,” Zamma said.
Zamma teamed up with Shinichi Ishikawa, a 46-year-old environment designer, and Iwata Co., a Kyoto-based bedding manufacturer, to develop the perfect bed for humans starting in May last year.
Their prototype bed has an oval shape that is 1.6 meters long and 1.2 meters wide. The bottom part, woven with paper string, is designed to ensure high breathability. It is covered by a mattress that is thicker around the periphery to replicate a shape with a depression in the centre.
The legs, which stretch out in eight directions, were designed with curves so that the bed could rock like a cradle.
Zamma said he and his co-workers will further pursue the development process for the eventual goal of commercialization.
Ape-men, the remote forebears of humankind, are also believed to have slept in treetop beds.
“The human body may retain memories from that time,” said Kyoto University President Juichi Yamagiwa, an authority of gorilla studies, who tried out the prototype bed.
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