German design firm Future-Shape has developed a conductive rug that can detect movement ike a giant touchscreen.
Called the SensFloor, the two-millimetre-thick textile underlay can be installed beneath flexible floor coverings such as carpets, tile or wood and can track the speed and direction of several people’s movements at once.
Each square metre of the fabric features four radio modules and proximity sensors that measure changes to the local electric field caused by a person or any other conductive object coming near the sensors.
Based on the area of disturbance to the electric field, the sensors can tell if a person is standing on the floor or lying on it. It can even tell the difference between a liquid spill and a person.
SensFloors developers believe the system could offer a way of monitoring people living alone or the elderly by turning on lights when it senses a person or even sending out an alert if it detects a fall.
The information is also able to passed to a separate control unit where it can be analysed in real time.