Business

Smart Flooring – A Digital Era Design

Smart Flooring

Thanks to technology, everyday items can do more than ever before.  With your smartphone, you can do plenty – from accessing your home and sending emails to video chatting with a friend who is halfway across the globe. In recent years, technology has extended to include smart flooring solutions. Smart flooring provides a broad range of uses.

These types of floors are embedded with sensors that detect pressure, weight, movement and other data to help improve interior design, security, traffic flow, construction methods and more. The technology has the potential to change floor layouts, furniture styles and the way people receive medical care. Smart floors can also turn on lights and generate electricity when sensors indicate someone has entered a room, for example.

Smart Flooring

Smart Floors in Hospital & Medical Facilities

Smart Flooring

Smart floors are currently being installed by electricians in plenty of buildings including offices, hospitals and medical clinics. For example, some health centers use smart floors to solve many recurring problems they face such as equipment theft and staff & patient falls. Smart floors fixed with antennas can pick data from patient wristbands, equipment badges and employee badges.

A smart floor can monitor the status and location of patients, equipment and personnel. Administrators can use the smart flooring technology to set up alarms for possible patient accidents and theft of equipment. Many of these technologies can also be found on entrance and rear-facility garage door openings. These floors can also be used in many ways to keep track of patients in emergency wards.

Smart Floors at Home

Smart floors are also finding many uses in smart homes. For example, elderly patients living at home can have their floors set to give audio instructions when they take the wrong path or wander into the wrong room. The sensors fitted into the floor detect movement, triggering an announcement to alert the patient that he/she is in the wrong area.

Lowering Healthcare Costs

Due to a rise in healthcare costs and a growing senior population, scientists in Finland are using smart flooring to determine the location and movements of people on the floor. The data collected goes to the mobile device of a medical professional.

The floor settings are adjusted to activate different alarms and accommodate the needs of individual patients. The smart floor then sends data about changes in walking routine and detects potential illnesses and falls. As a result, the system provides consistent data and monitoring round the clock.

Generation of Electricity

In addition to medical applications and security, some entrepreneurs are making use of foot power to generate power. The smart floors are fitted with sensors that collect kinetic energy from people walking on floors, convert it into energy and store the energy in batteries. These stored batteries can be used to power facility components, central air conditioner and heating and battery-charged medical tools.

 One hurdle of this technology, are possible issues of static and anti-static materials in the facility that can cause electronic disruption to the system. The use of antistatic bubble wrap could be applied around the static-prone equipment and components but wouldn’t be ideal.

As this featured technology evolves, smart flooring is developing as well. In Germany, for example, researchers have developed a system which translates images captured by cameras to identify different objects and people based on body posture and position of the foot. Although many of the technological solutions at this point are yet to become a standard for the home building industry, it won’t be long before many homes will be fitted with technology to generate power just by walking around.

About the author

John Paul

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