After having conceived the Good Knight™, the next challenge before us was to build a working prototype.
This prototype would have to consist of two parts:
- The Suit of Armour: An insulating outer enclosure that could envelop the bed, yet allow for everyday use of the bed
- The Inferno: A heater system that could maintain an appropriate temperature and shut off after a treatment
Designing the Suit of Armour
I soon realized that to devise an insulating bed enclosure is much simpler in concept than in real life. Our first prototype model was a rigid enclosure which was much too big and bulky for practical use. Nonetheless, it gave us a starting point for testing different heating systems.
We next decided to move towards designing an enclosure made of a more flexible material. Our current beta 3.1 model is largely based on our early soft shelled prototypes. The main advantage of the soft shelled models is that they can easily be folded away and take much less space. They are also much lighter and easier to install than our original rigid prototype.
Taming the Inferno
Building a heating system was a challenge in itself. We had to calibrate our heater to maintain temperatures that are not too high, not too low, but just right… just right to fry bed bugs that is. Furthermore, we needed the heating system to penetrate deep into the mattress and blankets, and anywhere else the bed bugs may lurk, without taking all day to reach these temperatures. The final challenge was to have the floor of the enclosure reach these same temperatures as well. Since heat rises, a cold floor can easily become an undesired refuge to bed bugs. With careful adjustments, we managed to design a heating system that maintains temperatures below those of a clothes drier.
Our heat tests show that even deep within the bed, temperatures lethal to bed bugs are reached. The next step is to send the Good Knight™ off to battle for a true trial of his might.
Bed bugs beware!
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