Scientists in Germany have created the next generation of flooring with the creation of high resolution pressure sensitive advances designed to keep track of people and the furniture in the room.
GravitySpace flooring, as it is known, can detect movement, poses and collisions and reflects back a mirror-like projection of what is happening in the room.
The prototype, designed by the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, works by recognising the pressure imprints left on it by people and objects. The technology reconstructs scene data from the pressure sensitive floor.
The flooring learns its own geometry, which means it can display locational information as to what and who is in the room. The current eight-square-metre prototype can identify people and objects based on their weight and an infrared camera is integrated into the technology for tracking.
The technology behind GravitySpace is encased in a glass sheet sitting on top of the floor. This sheet is installed on top of a hole in a floor and an infrared camera is installed under the sheet along with a projector. The flooring is made of a pressure sensitive film and contains LEDs.
The infrared LEDs and the pressure-sensitive film combine to help create a footprint where a person once stood or walked. Once the imprint has been established, the technology sends this off to a computer to be analysed. The computer recognises what the imprint is and sends this information to the projector. This is then mirrored back to the room and a corresponding video is displayed on the floor.
The new flooring has many potential applications. Not only could it open up a whole new world for residential and commercial buildings and properties, but it could also be used in the interactive gaming world and for security purposes. It has also been suggested that the technology could be a safety back up for when people fall in their home or suffer from a heart attack.
It is believed that GravitySpace flooring may not be the only technology of its kind coming down the pipeline, as the Hasso Plattner Institute expects it could become part of a “smart room.” This type of interactive technology may be the future of interiors.
Along with the Hasso Plattner Institute, the flooring technology was developed by UK-based Microsoft Research.