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Smart technology could revolutionize flooring

New smart floor technology is helping care homes monitor patients’ health, but could soon be adapted for use in the home.

There are many objects being produced that incorporate smart technology, such as smart heating controls, smart TVs, smart kitchen appliances, and smart security systems. MarieCare Systems has developed Elsi Sensor technology, which brings smart technology to floors.

The system is currently being tested in care homes where the floor tracks a patient’s movements. Sensors in the floor can tell if someone has fallen and immediately notify a nurse. MarieCare claims that this monitoring can reduce the number of nursing staff.

The flooring is no more complicated to install than traditional linoleum flooring. Tiles with a copper layer sandwiched between plastic are glued to concrete floors. Carpet or other floor coverings can be laid on top of the tiles if required. Each tile is connected to sensors that are linked to a server where application software administers the system.

Elsi flooring can be laid on top of underfloor heating, but as yet cannot be used in bathroom areas as it is not waterproof.

The technology has been installed on care and rehabilitation centres, but researchers are looking at adapting the system for the home. Smart floors could be connected to lighting and heating systems and respond to inhabitants’ movements.

The technology could also be embedded in vinyl and lino flooring. The laminate flooring in Wirral homes, giving that the peninsula has a large senior population, could soon be an essential component of a smart-enabled home.

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