People without a roof over their heads in the German city of Ulm, 75 miles west of Munich, may now benefit from a smart effort the installation of a series of pods around the city for homeless people to sleep in. The sleeping pods, known as Ulmer Nests, are built of wood and steel and are intended to protect individuals without houses from the cold, wind, and humidity. They can also accommodate up to two people.
While there are no cameras, motion sensors inform social workers when the doors are opened, indicating that the pods are in use. Following usage, the caretakers inspect the pod to verify that it can be cleaned and to help anybody utilizing the shelter. The nests also include solar panels and are linked to a radio network, allowing the inhabitants to interact without relying on mobile networks.
According to the Ulmer Nest's developers, the pods are designed for individuals who are unable to attend traditional homeless shelters owing to psychological issues or because they have a pet, for example. They also point out that the pod is not a replacement for a more typical hostel or lodging facility, but rather a "emergency last resort" option to sleeping in the open air.
Currently, the nests are part of a pilot study to explore if the installations can protect against frostbite. If such is the case, they may be adopted for a national rollout.
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