Till now, no such thing has been made that could predict when someone is about to fall. But now that “something” has been created. Using plastic optical fibers, a team at the University of Manchester in the UK has developed a carpet that can detect when someone has fallen over or about to fall. It also detects unfamiliar walking pattern across it. The team is calling the it “Magic Carpet.”
Plastic optical fibers are placed beneath the Magic Carpet. These tiny electronics act as sensors. When, an elderly person walks on the Magic Carpet, the sensors beneath it observe his/her rhythmic walking patterns. When the sensors find/detect a nonrhythmic walking pattern/style of any person, it relay signals to a computer. Later, the computer decodes the signals and analysis it. The computer identifies gradual changes in walking pattern/style via images of footprints. Having the ability to detect a deterioration in walking habits, the whole system can also predict if a person is about to fall/trip.
Scientists believe that the technology could be used in future to alert carers if patients falls over. It means, Magic Carpets could be used in care homes or in hospital wards, if necessary. Physiotherapists could also use the carpet to measure changes and improvements in a person’s gait. Besides, the imaging technology is so versatile that it could even be developed to detect the presence of chemical spillage or fire as an early warning system.
Dr. Patricia Scully from the university’s Photon Science Institute mentioned the setting up the Magic Carpet would be of low-cost. She presented her research about the technology/Magic Carpet on Tuesday, September 4 at Photon 12, the largest optics conference in UK.
Source : The University of Manchester