Smart Floors: The Latest Addition to the Smart Home


As more intelligent homes start popping up all around the world, the more advanced technology gets.  From tweeting refrigerators to digital tables and countertops, the home is getting smarter. 

Recently, scientists in Germany have started developing smart floors prototypes called “GravitySpace”. The floors are high-resolution, pressure sensitive screens that can accurately track people and objects.

Through a set of recognition algorithms, GravitySpace identifies the users or furniture, and tracks their location, poses, or collisions. Unlike cameras, the floor uses pressure imprints left on the floor to reconstruct the contents above the ground.

The floors are comprised of a glass-coated slab with a rubbery pressure sensitive film, surrounded by infrared LEDs.  An infrared camera and high-resolution video projector is located below the floor, which tracks footprints and beams up video on to the glass.

Smart floors could soon replace home and office security cameras.  IBM recently patented a touch smart floor that can detect home intruders. In addition to home and office security, the technology could be used to help take care of the elderly or disabled where, for example, a caregiver would be alerted when a patient falls. The floors also have many entertainment applications.

To play a version of indoor soccer, the floor generates a CGI football that can be kicked about by the people in the room. Or if someone sits on the floor, the system recognizes who they are by their precise weight and flips a TV on to their favorite channel."

There are several advantages to using smart floors over camera-based tracking.

First, it provides a consistent coverage of the room wall-to-wall. Secondly, it is less susceptible to people in the room blocking vision. It also allows for simple algorithms and, finally, it is less intrusive on privacy.”

The project has been developed in collaboration with Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany and Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK.


Source: Touch-sensitive video-screen floor is in step with youGravitySpace


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