Olympic press can grab high-tech naps

BEIJING – With nowhere really to go, journalists inside the Beijing Olympics bubble are encouraged to sleep on the job.

They can’t visit the village rooms where competitors are staying, but they can try out the high-tech beds athletes are sleeping in. Several corridors at the main media center are lined with “sleep rest cabins,” small pods that open with a QR code and contain beds.

The beds can be adjusted by remote control and even have a “zero-gravity mode” meant to reduce stress on the body — you don’t quite float, but it’s pretty comfortable.

Some journalists nap in the cabins, while others in search of a quiet — and private — place to write bring their computers.

Zhao Yufeng, a spokesperson for cabin manufacturer Keeson Technology Corp., said 30 to 40 people a day have been using them so far.

“We’ve placed sleeping cabins here for journalists to give an environment to work, rest and get relaxed,” she said.

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Not everyone was excited about napping in a see-through box in full view of anyone walking by, though.

Guido Santevecchi, an Italian journalist, said the pods reminded him of something you might find in a psychiatric ward.

Given the already heavy potential mental health toll of living inside the Olympic bubble with major restrictions on movement, “I would rather avoid entering there,” he said.

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Associated Press journalist Chisato Tanaka contributed to this story.

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