The University of Miami, a young person's active retirement community that doubles as a respected institution of higher education, has a new luxury feature for its weary students: two $9,000, high-tech napping pods in the University Center and Student Center. The futuristic alternatives to sleeping in class are aimed at tired commuter students. They were a campaign promise from the school's student body vice president Ish Singh.
The two napping pods debuted this semester alongside a massage chair that will now be available to students.
According to the Miami Herald , students can spend 20 minutes each in the pods and are expected to wipe them down after use. The pods are free to use.
The pods are the product of New York company MetroNaps, which actually dubs them "energy pods." The pods sort of resemble a '60s mod-style egg chair with a leg rest jutting out. The design is meant to relax the cardiac system and take pressure off of the back. Once a tired young Cane props himself up in the chair, he can lower the privacy visor to block out distractions and make sure no one finds out that he happens to be a drooling sleeper.
Nappers can then listen to a pre-programmed aural experience of ambient noise to help them relax. After 20 minutes the pod gently wakes the sleeper with soothing lights and mild noises. The system is based on research that shows short midday naps can boost productivity and health benefits.
Naturally, UM's pods are emblazoned with the school's trademark "U" symbol.
However, the chair is just your standard massage chair.
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UM is far from the first university to install the pods. The University of Michigan has napping pod stations in its library. So do Carnegie Mellon and St. Leo University. Nap pods are also famously available to employees at Google's main campus.
Though, as a UM alum, this strikes my envious heart as another needlessly fancy addition to the school, because I am old and cranky.
Back in my day, if we needed a nap on campus, we'd go up to the university library stacks and doze off for 30 minutes while gently repeating a soothing chant of "Shalalalalalalalala" for ambient noise, only to wake up with a creaky neck. If we wanted to get around campus, we had to walk all the way around Lake Osceola. We didn't have a $1 million bridge that crossed it. We didn't even have a University Center. We just had a student center! And if you wanted a free massage in the middle of the day, we didn't have a chair. We had to go up to see that creepy RA on the sixth floor of Stanford Residential College and promise not to tell anyone.