Attention all campers! We have a new product to help enhance your camping experience. Have you ever gone hiking somewhere, but, even after a long day of exercise, you cannot fall asleep because you are shivering even under that thick sleeping bag? Well we have the solution for you!
Introducing the one and only Cozy Cocoon! The Cozy Cocoon is a temperature regulated sleeping bag that will keep you nice and cozy even on the coldest of nights. Worried about camping somewhere with a harsher climate than you’re used to? Never fear! This technologically advanced sleeping bag will allow you to stay warm no matter where you are by sensing the outside temperature and adjusting to your needs. Do you prefer to sleep in a warmer temperature than the average person? Cozy Camping can be set to a temperature just right for you! Get ready to take your camping experience to the next level!
How does it work?
This technologically innovative sleeping bag makes use of a feedforward control system to ensure that you are kept nice and warm despite freezing temperatures outside. A feedforward control system works by measuring a potential disturbance (such as the outside temperature) and adjusting before the desired output can be affected. For the Cozy Cocoon, the control system works by measuring the outside temperature outside the sleeping bag and determining how much heat needs to be released from the sleeping bag in order to keep the temperature inside at the exact temperature you desire! The baseline temperature that the thermostat will be set at is 70 degrees fahrenheit, but there will be a customizable function that allows you to program the sleeping bag to be anywhere from 65 to 75 degrees fahrenheit. This sleeping bag works much like an electric blanket, but it is able to adjust its heat output in order to keep the temperature at what you desire. The control system will be able to respond to the changing temperatures outside quickly and efficiently! As soon as the sleeping bag detects a drop in temperature, the heater inside will adjust the heat output in order to compensate for the loss. This ensures that even if the temperature were to drop dramatically throughout the night, you would remain nice and toasty!
Our design is like an upgraded electric blanket. It works with similar technology. Electric blankets consist of three main components: the cloth, the heating element (insulated wire), and the power source. The Cozy Cocoon also has these three elements incorporated, each designed with campers in mind. Cozy Cocoon is made of the highest quality blend of fabrics. It is made of four different layers of materials. The first layer consists of a blanket like material, such as a polyester and acrylic blend that has insulation properties essential in keeping you nice and toasty all night long! The second, middle layer contains the wiring and heating coils. The third layer consists of thermal leno or open crochet that enables the heat to be projected downward to keep your body warm all throughout the night. Finally, the outside layer is made of a nylon taffeta that is coated with a durable water repellant so that even the most torrential storm cannot harm your Cozy Cocoon.
The Heating Element
Like an electric blanket, the Cozy Cocoon will be heated using an insulated wire that lines the entire sleeping bag. When a normal electric blanket is turned on, a current passes through the wire causing the blanket to get warm. With our control system implemented, the measurement of the outside air temperature will be factored into the heating element. If the temperature drops, the control system will adjust the amount of heat supplied by changing the flow of current through the wire. Without this control system, a temperature drop outside would result in more heat being lost to the environment and a decrease in the internal sleeping bag temperature. However, once the current flowing through the wire is increased, the heat supplied to the bag will compensate for the heat being lost to the external environment. This will result in a nice, constant temperature inside of the Cozy Cocoon.
The Power Source
You might be wondering how, in the middle of the woods, you are going to be able to power the sleeping bag. Well don’t worry we have found a solution! Here at Cozy Camping we seek to be environmentally friendly and are always trying to find new ways of enjoying nature without causing it any harm. With that thought in mind, we created a solar powered battery that will ensure your warmth and keep the Earth healthy! There is a small solar panel on the outside of the sleeping bag, that can store energy during the day. So, while you’re out hiking and exploring the great outdoors, the sleeping bag will be powering up and come bed time it will be all ready to provide you a comfortable night of sleep! Camping in an area without much sunlight? Never fear, you can still use the Cozy Cocoon on your adventure! The Cozy Cocoon comes with an alternative battery that is not solar powered. While the solar powered battery comes attached, the other battery can easily be switched to allow for heating when there is no sun available to charge your battery!
How is it Controlled?
You may ask, how does this differ from a normal electric blanket? Besides the fact that it is portable and has an outer shell that is waterproof, Cozy Cocoon controls the amount of heat released into the sleeping bag by responding to disturbances. The largest disturbance that would greatly affect the temperature inside the sleeping bag is the outdoor temperature. There currently is in existence an electric blanket with a temperature responsive control circuit. We have based our design off of this idea. Inside this electric blanket, the amount of heat released is controlled by a silicon controlled rectifier which is sensitive to the temperature. This will allow you to sleep at your ideal temperature without waking up to adjust the setting of the electric blanket. This feedforward loop will act quickly by causing heat to be released when the temperature drops outside. On average, the Cozy Cocoon will take only 10 minutes to heat up when it is turned on. This means that your sleeping bag can be heating up when you are setting up the rest of your campsite and will be nice and warm as soon as you crawl inside! Then, once it is already on and working, the feedforward system will respond quickly enough that there will be little disturbance in the inside temperature of the bag when the outside temperature is changing. This type of control will keep your sleeping bag at the perfect temperature for you. Satisfaction guaranteed!
Because the temperature control system significantly decreases the opportunity for overheating, the Cozy Cocoon eliminates many of the health issues regarding heated blankets. Still it is recommended that pregnant women, persons with disabilities, young children, and elderly only use the Cozy Cocoon under the supervision of others in the rare case that the heat controls fail. Additionally, despite the waterproof outside of the material, it is essential that caution be exercised when operating the Cozy Cocoon in wet conditions. If any part of the inner sleeping bag gets wet, do not turn on the heating controls. Not adhering to this regulation could result in electrocution. To accommodate for campers who frequently adventure in wet conditions, another version of the Cozy Camper will be made available soon, This version will have a waterproof lining throughout the entire bag including the inside. Caution should still be exercised when using this sleeping bag, however the protective lining on the inside will provide higher levels of safety. When used with care and regard to the unlikely complications, the Cozy Cocoon is a safe and reliable way to stay warm on all your camping endeavours!
Coming Soon: The Cool Cocoon!
Currently in the works at Cozy Camping is our newest edition sleeping bag, the Cool Cocoon! While the Cozy Cocoon is ideal for sub-zero temperatures, the Cool Cocoon is perfect for those steamy summer nights. We are currently working on a technology that will release colder air into the sleeping bag rather than heat. With this new innovation, you will be able to stay nice and cool inside your sleeping bag despite scorching temperatures outside. The Cool Cocoon works just like the Cozy Cocoon and has a feedforward control system to regulate the bag temperature. However, this sleeping bag works as the temperature outside rises. When the outside temperature is climbing, the control system takes a measurement and adjusts the cool air flow to the bag. Thus, you will stay nice and cool without having to wake up and adjust any settings. No more sleepless nights because it is too hot and you can’t stop sweating! Look for the Cool Cocoon coming to stores near you in the summer of 2018!
The Cozy Cocoon is available in most camping and retail stores near you! Think of the countless adventures and exciting places you could explore with the ability to stay warm at night even in subzero conditions! Don’t be the only one shivering on a cold night camping in the woods. Purchase a Cozy Cocoon today and we guarantee you will be one happy camper!
By Erin Rome, Caroline Harmon, and Emily Moore
This is a fantastic idea, I went camping with a friend over winter break. We were sleeping in sleeping bags in his mom’s van on the side of the road, while the weather was in the teens. The Cozy Cocoon would have been a lifesaver because I genuinely thought I was going to get hypothermia that night. I think there is a good market for this because of how the Cozy Cocoon works. You could just say wear warm clothes to sleep in, but the Cozy Cocoon will keep you at a constant temperature no matter what you are wearing.
The control scheme makes sense, it measures the outside temperature and responds accordingly. It is good to know that it will work no matter how cold it gets, I would like to know if there is a chance that the coil or battery could freeze if it gets too cold, or at the very least not function properly. What would be done to keep the machinery working when it gets too cold? Assuming that everything will still work properly, I think that there is very little wrong with this idea. Measuring the outside temperature and responding appropriately will work fine because the outside temperature does not change very quickly. This will allow the sleeping bag to maintain its temperature pretty easily.
I really like the idea of having a solar charged battery, way to be environmental. I do think that it would be a bit difficult to actually charge during the day though. Would the user have to carry it around outside all day? How long could it actually heat the sleeping bag for? I like the idea of having the backup battery, but I think it would be cool if you could completely rely on the solar powered battery. In terms of storage, would it fit into a backpack and not be too heavy? I’m really grasping at straws for what could go wrong with this, because I think it is a really useful idea. I doubt that it would be very expensive too, which would be a plus. I do not see as much use for the Cool Cocoon personally. I would happily sleep naked to stay cool when it’s hot out, but I am not like most people. I also live in a place that rarely ever gets too hot, so I wouldn’t personally have a use for this. There are plenty of places with hot and cold climates that make sleep difficult and the Cozy/Cool Cocoons will do a great job of making a good night of sleep possible.
Personally, after reading the whole article, I do not think that I will buy this product. That being said, from my first impression of this idea, I still think the idea of this application is practical as cozy and warm sleeping environment is indeed what all campers desire when camping out in a cold night.
The idea of utilizing a feedforward system to control the inside temperature seems reasonable. I think you guys did a good job identifying the controlled variable, manipulated variable and disturbance variable. Also, a solar-powered battery and an alternative battery is a clever and thoughtful design. However, I personally do not think that this design is effective and I do have a few suggestions I want to mention. From this article, it seems that regulation and changes to the electric current and the amount heat released inside the bag is only controlled by the changes in the outside temperature. I personally do not think it is a very comprehensive consideration. When someone is sleeping in a sleeping bag, it is basically impossible that his or her whole body will be completely wrapped inside the sleeping bag; there could always be some part inside the sleeping bag exposed to the outside. Even though the outside temperature is not changing at this moment, heat loss to the outside will happen and deviation from set-point temperature will happen. Also, in the article, you said ‘this feedforward loop will act quickly by causing heat to be released when the temperature drops outside’. I will express my point and suggestion to this sentence using terms from our control class. We can treat our outside temperature as our input in this system and the inside temperature as out output in this system. When there is a change in our input, which is a drop of outside temperature in this case, at that moment, which is t=0, the deviation of our input, which is the temperature inside the sleeping bag, is 0. From the quoted sentence, it seems that you are saying that the system will release heat when temperature drops at t=0. However, this action does not make sense since we have no change in our inside temperature and no deviation from our set-point temperature at that time; releasing heat when inside temperature is not changing will only cause the temperature to go up. I am suggesting installing a thermometer inside the sleeping bag to monitor the inside temperature which is our controlled variable. Any changes to the electric current and heat released should be based off of the reading on the thermometer and the set-point temperature. The heater should implement corresponding changes to the electric current only when it detects a deviation from the set-point temperature.
Lastly, I do not think this application will be useful in actual practice. One of the main issues with this sleeping bag, as mentioned in the article, is water-proofing. When camping outside, it is always possible to encounter humid environment and, mostly common, raining. Water can cause damage to the battery and any other electrical components in the sleeping bag and could cause electrocution to users. I noticed the idea of water-proofing sleeping bag in the future at the very end; then why don’t you implement it to you design since it will improve a lot on your safety issue?
Although I do not believe that I will purchase or use this product, I definitely can see the potential market for this product. I would assume that those who camp are not always thrilled about sleeping in the wilderness with varying temperatures. I’m sure if I were to go camping that I’d use this product. There are definitely people who would buy this and find great use from this product.
The control scheme proposed, using a feedforward control loop, makes sense at face value. My only gripe with it is that a feedback loop would achieve a similar outcome given that the temperature does not change very fast at night. As to the proposed controlled variable being the inside temperature of the sleeping bag, I see no better controlled variable. Furthermore, manipulating the heat input into the sleeping bag is a perfectly valid way to control the internal temperature from a disturbance of external temperature. There are very few options that can be used for a manipulated variable that would have a similar effect that I can think of. As to potential inputs, the sleeping bag cannot control the heat output of a person, nor can it control the openness of the sleeping bag without waking up the user. There will be heat loss to the environment since the sleeping bag will have a higher temperature than that of its surroundings. It will have to account for the temperature difference between the surroundings and the inside of the sleeping if it is to effectively regulate the inside temperature. The control system in place will very likely do a good job at controlling the temperature, but I find it hard to believe that it will be a big enough improvement on the current technology of the electric blanket.
I see this product being useful. There are some electrical issues that may arise from the solar generator powering the blanket. If the electrical current run through the blanket is not high enough to cause harm, then I see little issue. Overall, this idea makes sense, but isn’t a huge innovation on what already exists. Although electric blankets may not have a feedback or feedforward control loop involved, I feel as if most people who are going camping do not care how warm they are as long as they are warm. The principles seem sound, but perhaps a tent using these same principles would be more viable.
My initial reaction to the cozy cocoon is that this is a very creative idea and that I would definitely use a product like this. The cozy cocoon could be very beneficial for things such as winter camping or even if heat went out in your house. The group does a great job getting their message across, and did a lot of research of what materials could be potentially used for an application such as this as well as other features such as safety and batteries. Overall, I thought it was a really cool invention and would definitely consider buying one for myself.
This application uses a feedforward control scheme by measuring the outside temperature to determine how much heat should be input into the sleeping bag to sustain a desired temperature. In this instance this control scheme could work. However, it is possible it could be difficult to measure the exact amount of heat needed to input throughout the system to warm the inside of the cocoon to the exact temperature desired. This is because disturbances such as the size and percent fat of a person can effect how much heat needs to be used to heat the cocoon up for a specific person. Therefore, it could be proposed to use a dual feedforward feedback control loop in order to account for both the inside and outside temperature and be able to react as quickly and accurately as possible.
I do think that their variables they are using for this process make sense. It makes sense that they want to utilize the disturbance of the outside temperature to regulate the temperature inside of the system because outside is where the cold air would come into play. Their manipulated variable of a feedforward heat input into the system based on the disturbances outside is reasonable especially because the application has the heater evenly spread throughout the fabric of the system. The only main concern was regulating the disturbances inside of the system because a feedforward loop assumes the only disturbance would be the air outside of the tent.
I could see this application being used in actual practice. I do think that one of the main problems with heated sleeping bags is the fact that it can warm a person, but it doesn’t mean it will warm a person to their desired temperature or account for heat besides the amount that is being emitted. Though I do believe that this application will take a lot of testing and trials before it could work, and cost might be an issue with all the technology going into the sleeping bag. This is because in addition to the heating system, different layers of fabric, sensors, they also have batteries and a solar system that will go into the sleeping bag. Therefore, I think that this application has potential for extreme campers who are willing to spend money on something that efficient, but otherwise I think that cost might be an issues to consider.
Right away, I was drawn in by the idea of a temperature-regulated sleeping bag! I love camping in both the summer and winter months and it would be awesome to have one sleeping bag to accommodate all times of the year. As of now, I have two different sleeping bags, one for colder temps (~negative 30 degrees F), and one for warmer summer weather (~zero degrees F). Even then, I might still be too hot/cold in one or the other. Your application seems like a true goldilocks happy medium.
You identified your CV/MV/DV well. One thing I was thinking about as I read through your blog was the possibility of human body temperature being the controlled variable. So, if a person’s body temp is low, the bag will increase amount of heat supplied and if their body temp were high, the heat supplied would be less. The outside temperature could still be accounted for as a disturbance variable. As is, your system makes sense and works well, I was just curious if this option would also work? Another disturbance variable could also be time of day and humidity.
One concern that came to mind was the ability to wash the sleeping bag. Sleeping bags can get dirty and smelly very easily and hold in that campfire smell. However, if it were possible to remove the middle layer of wires and heating coils or wash the sleeping bag without harming the device I don’t think this would be an issue.
I love the idea of a solar powered battery! (It’s almost like you are taking a class about alternative energy). Before I read up to the power source section, I was curious as to how the battery was going to be recharged or if batteries would need to be replaced. I think it is important to consider how the battery may be a hindrance to the comfort of the bag. The bigger the battery, the more storage, but it will be bulkier. The size of the panel and battery could hopefully be some happy medium of not too large but also a decent amount of storage. If the solar panel is attached to the bag, it may be difficult to charge during the day. If it was possible, it might be a cool option to have the solar panel/battery attach to the outside of a backpack or be able to leave out in the sun all day and then attach it to the bag for nighttime.
Would the sleeping bag still have the ability to be stuffed into a small stuff sack without harming the device? One of the benefits of sleeping bags is their ability to be packed into a compact area and thrown into a backpack to go hiking to cool destinations. This is also most likely a simple fix. Maybe there is a special way the sleeping bag could be folded or the wires could be made of durable materials.
I would definitely consider purchasing this product as long as it was a reasonable cost, but I believe that is feasible. This product will be competing with other sleeping bags, so hopefully it could be a reasonably similar price to a standard one. I would even consider paying slightly more for this cool added feature. I also loved the end about the safety warnings and the cozy cocoon future products!
I think this product is a great idea. I personally would tend toward The Cool Cocoon, as I usually prefer cooler sleeping temperatures and the majority of camping I do is in the summer. However, I think many people find themselves feeling cold at night, and I think a more regulated electric blanket makes a lot of sense. I think many electric blankets on the market get too warm and can even cause burns if left on all night, so a system that only applies the necessary heat could be very useful. In terms of camping, I think the product could be very useful, and I appreciate that consideration was put into the power supply and safety considerations. I wonder if another product could be made for the household, which could allow for comfortable sleeping while allowing customers to set their thermostats to energy saving conditions while sleeping comfortably.
I think the proposed control scheme is well described, and I like that the feedforward system is a proactive approach so the customer does not have to feel the temperature drop before it is acted upon. I think a potential problem with the system is that is does not specifically measure the internal temperature of the sleeping bag, and the energy added to the sleeping bag due to insulated body heat is not accounted for. I think with the current setup, the sleeping bag is likely to get too warm rather than maintain a constant temperature. I think instead of just a feedforward control system, a feedback/feedforward loop should be used. Then, the controlled variable will be directly measured and the system can be better controlled.
I do think the system would be usable in practice. My concern is that this system is likely most in demand when camping conditions are wet and cold, which would cause limitations on charging and use. I appreciate that these concerns were addressed in the blog, but this might mean that the product has limited use on long term camping trips. Additionally, there are well insulated and highly waterproof sleeping bags on the market that are popular, so the product would have to be competitively priced to compete with these sleeping bags.