The Lover-Detecting Smart Mattress Pits Tech Against Trust in a Pillow Fight

There is no good reason to buy one of these things.

Benjamin Disinger / Flickr

There’s now a company that would like to offer you peace of mind in the form of a mattress. It’s called Smarttress and, in the sense that it communicates with internet and contains sensors, it is smart. As a purchase, it’s anything but.

Smarttress is meant to make it easy to keep tabs on how much action your bed is getting. In other words, the smart mattress lets you know when someone’s getting busy in your bed. And it doesn’t just let you know: It lets you watch as the bedsprings compress and expand. That peace of mind — if it can be called that — comes with a $1,800 price tag.

Though the movie trailer–esque promotional video makes the argument that infidelity has never been easier and must therefore be on the rise, there’s not a straight line between this dubitable phenomenon and the surveillance bed. While technology is great for making our lives easier and for keeping us entertained, technology makes a terrible replacement for trust.

One may argue that, the more technology advances, the less we need to rely on each other. The Nest provides the comfort of knowing your house isn’t going to burn down, and the Ptezi Treat-Dispensing Wireless Camera lets you keep an eye on your dog. If you lose your iPhone or misplace your Macbook, you can find one with the other. (You can also find more than that.)

But Smarttress represents a step away from analog relationships, which is a different thing altogether. The mattress maker, Durmet, embeds a “Lover Detection System” into each mattress. The sensors compress and expand with the mattress and transmit ultrasonic waves. These sensors communicate with your smartphone when triggered. “If your partner isn’t faithful,” the website states, “at least your mattress is.” Some consolation.

Vaguely…suggestive, wouldn't you say?


Anyone who purchases and installs this mattress will — unless there has been a conversation — be violating their significant other’s trust. “Oh, honey, I got us a new mattress. It’s comfortable.” End of explanation.

If you’re not violating your partner’s trust, you’re giving yourself a false sense of security. In this situation, you’d presumably tell your partner that you got a Smarttress. If he or she were committed to non-commitment, then he or she would find another bed or use the couch or the floor. The number of alternatives or workarounds that present themselves is endless. Granted, one would have to go out of one’s way to avoid detection, but a few feet would suffice.


Additionally, if you feel that your relationship requires this level of surveillance — or any surveillance at all — perhaps you’d best get the fuck out of your relationship. If you feel that, for you to stay in a relationship, you need technological surveillance, then you should reconsider ever entering into a relationship (unless psychosexual gameplay is a core tenet of said coupling). It should go without saying that an important part of a budding romance is the gradual establishment of trust. Apparently it does not.

On a related note: If your partner feels that your relationship requires this level of surveillance — or, again, any surveillance at all — you’d best get the fuck out of your relationship. The logic swings both ways.

Perhaps the only adequate use of this technology would be if you suspected that someone else, someone who’s not your significant other, is using your bed for illicit affairs. Your roommate, say. But if that were the case — as with most other imaginable reasons one might feel compelled to buy this mattress — there are better, less absurd, and definitely less expensive ways to get to the bottom of the case. Asking a question might work. Locking a door might work as well.

There are many arenas in which it’s justifiable for technology to replace humans, but trust is inherently human. Either you’re up to the task of being in a relationship or you’re not. If you know someone who’s intrigued by the Smarttress, first get him or her out of their relationship, then get him or her help.