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A patented technology that uses a century-old physical process for inflating a camping mattress extremely quickly.
We created a comfortable camping mattress that inflates itself, with bewildering speed, so much so that we patented the technology.
Using a principle of fluid mechanics, our Venturi valve, combined with the Air Seconds air mattresses for one or two people, the airflow is accelerated using the vacuum cleaner principle (inverted flow) to go from a folded mattress to an inflated mattress, that is ready to use, in just a few seconds.
The principle of the venturi effect, discovered at the end of the 18th century, has been used for a very long time in industry, particularly in vacuum cleaners and fans. Indeed, it is from the world of household appliances, especially dishwasher valves, that the inspiration for this technology, patented in 2015, arose. The product engineer working on it at the time is called Antoine, and he's a bit like MacGyver's twin. He designs anything with anything and, on one particularly tedious day of camping, he wondered whether the Venturi effect could be adapted to air mattresses, given its ability to speed up the flow of air in vacuum cleaners.
After an intense documentation phase and quite a lot of time spent working and simulating flows, his complex work on fluid mechanics led to an initial prototype. This model was created directly in the field, on a campsite on the shores of Lake Annecy. With a few tools and materials, some pieces of rigid foam were glued to some PVC and added to a mattress with some Blu-tak to create an airtight seal.
Naturally, having confirmed that the system worked in principle with the help of some DIY skills, a little more work was needed. This included an industrial designer, a 3D printed model, which was used to improve the moulds, and a designer to study the practical aspects without overlooking the aesthetic aspects, which involved creating shapes that evoke "speed".
This valve was fitted to the Air Seconds mattresses, which use a different technology from the tents of the same name. In this case, the objective is to inflate large volumes at a fairly low pressure. Products like inflatable kayaks, kite wings or Air Seconds tents need stiffness, and hence a lot of pressure. Our valve speeds up the inflation process and increases the volume quickly, but does not create excessive pressure (about 0.03 bars, or 100 times less than a bicycle tire), which is not important for a mattress, but much more important for other types of products (the tubes of the Air Seconds tents are inflated to approximately 0.5 bars).
A key part of what makes the efficiency and the patented originality of our system is the tube integrated inside the mattress which delivers the most consistent flow of air possible, known as a laminar flow, as opposed to a turbulent flow.
The development of the mattress itself also involves working on the component parts: fabrics, materials, cuts. The goal is to ensure that the valve project and that of the inflatable mattress come together, like drilling a tunnel from both sides of a mountain. We spent comparatively much less time on this 100% PVC product, designed to have a thick mattress that inflates very quickly, than on the valve itself.
Work on a second version, with a more compact valve and a different mattress (more durable laminated PVC) was facilitated by the fact that we weren't starting from scratch but improving an existing product. Early testing, for example, involved plugging some of the v1's eyelets to find out what was really needed.
Consequently, we took advantage of all the lessons learnt from the first version to highlight the important points, and those which we could overlook. For example, we knew that we would have to keep the tube that delivers a linear flow of air inside.