The Engineering Life--Around the Web
Much to the joy of any Eureka fans out there, we are one step closer to SARAH (Self Actuated Residential Automated Habitat) becoming a reality. A team at the University of Manchester has developed a carpet that can detect the walking patterns of those who use it.
The carpet is laced with optical fibers that create 2D pressure maps to capture footstep patterns. Sensors at the carpetís edges relay the signals to a computer which analyses the footsteps patterns.
Over time the system can recognize patterns in a personís stride and potentially detect changes in body mechanics before the individual can recognize them themselves. Additionally the program can identify whether someone has stumbled or fallen in the house and an alarm can be triggered.
The technology could mean increased peace of mind for those with elderly parents and destroy the business of LifeAlert.
The carpet could also be used as an intruder alert system, by identifying the footsteps of individuals and the shoes they were wearing. The alert system is not solely designed for footfall, however. If the sensors are altered they could be used to provide early warning of chemical spillage and fire.
Personally I am still waiting for the day when the floor can suck up any mess but this is a promising first step in the direction of intelligent living environments.