A new prototype high-tech floor is able to recognize the people and objects standing on it and display video.
Credit: Prof. Patrick Baudisch, Human Computer Interaction
What if your floor said hi to you whenever you came home? A new invention, still in its prototype stage, could make that happen. Researchers have created a glass floor, named Gravity Space, that recognizes the people and objects standing on it. Gravity Space could work for applications ranging from flipping on your favorite TV channel when you come into the room to monitoring the activity levels of elderly people, the New Scientist reported.
This isn't the first people-recognizing floor we've seen. TechNewsDaily previously reported on a "smart carpet" prototype for nursing homes and a patent granted to IBM for a floor for smart homes. Meanwhile, a U.K. branch of Microsoft Research funded the research into Gravity Space, the New Scientist reported. Sounds like this may be a technology several companies are looking to develop.
The technology is still far from market, but those who research touch-sensitive floors have thought of several applications for them, including hosting games, sounding an alarm when unfamiliar people walk on them, or alerting nurses when a patient falls.
One of the exciting things about Gravity Space is that it is able to show video. Its creators, computer interaction researchers at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany, have already made some working games for it. They've made a "mirror world" application that shows upside-down versions of everything in the room. Those who walk around on the floor see their own inverted avatars follow their every step. The researchers have also made a virtual soccer game that shows a CGI ball on the floor and knows when people are kicking, the New Scientist reported. No more yelling at the kids to "Take that ball outside!"
Gravity Space seems especially sensitive, compared to other prototypes we've seen. "This pressure sensor is of such high resolution that the floor can recognize anything from shoe prints to fabric textures to someone's knees," Patrick Baudisch, Gravity Space's lead developer, told the New Scientist.
Baudisch and his colleagues will present Gravity Space in April, at a conference hosted by the Association for Computing Machinery.
Source: New Scientist
This story was provided by TechNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience. You can follow TechNewsDaily staff writer Francie Diep on Twitter @franciediep. Follow TechNewsDaily on Twitter @TechNewsDaily, or on Facebook.