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IBM Patents A Floor That Can Detect Heart-Attack

Imagine that you are suddenly assaulted by a person next to you so that you fall on the floor. And that, the floor immediately understands this and calls the cops and has the person arrested. Sounds bit too science-fiction like? Well, IBM has patented just the kind of technology that can accomplish this. It basically makes use of surface-based computing tech.


This is by no means a technology that has just been dreamt of. IBM filed for this patent as long ago as 2009 and now, about three years later, it has been awarded the right to the patent.

We  don’t know what does IBM intend to do with this patent and when can we see any of its manifestations. However, there are a lot of potential applications for such a system. It can be used to register if an aged person suffers a heart attack and falls on the floor and then send for an ambulance or call up the hospital.

Like the description of the patent reads, ‘In one embodiment, at step 960, object inactivity is sensed, such as a person lying prone on the floor. In one embodiment, also at step 960, the current health status of the object is retrieved, if possible, such as using a heart-rate monitor or other such device. A determination is made, based on the data received in step 960, as to whether the object might need assistance (decision 965).

For example, an elderly person may have fallen on the floor and cannot get up, or a person may have suffered a heart attack or other possibly life-threatening incident. If a health alert is detected, then decision 965 branches to “yes” branch 970 whereupon, at step 975 appropriate action is taken (e.g., contact emergency medical services (EMS), sound alarm, notify a caretaker, etc.).’

There are concerns, however, that such a system couldn’t be installed in places where it would be needed the most, for instance at private homes with lone, aged residents. That is because such a ‘floor’ would be too costly to be afforded. Nonetheless, we still have to wait to see how IBM comes out with it, if at all.

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