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DOMOTEX SMART FLOORING 78


them to a collection location. Foot-driven power-generation is now something appealing to entrepreneurs experimenting with fl oor tiles which employ sensors to collect the kinetic energy from footsteps and convert it into the sort of energy that can be stored in batteries for use later. This was demonstrated to some extent during the football World Cup in Rio. Energy-collecting tiles buried beneath a pitch allowed the teams to play after dark by powering fl oodlights. One can only imagine doing an entire aerobics workout or getting


the children to run around to stay warm in a cold room and generating enough energy to fi re the heating later that night. All part of the 21st century vision of “living off the grid”.


HARNESSING THE POWER OF MOVEMENT A company called Energy Floors has already created The Walker, a smart fl oor comprising solar top sheets with integrated LED Lighting. The panels generate a signifi cant energy output with an effi ciency rating of two-thirds of regular PV panels: 35 watts per tile. The electricity they generate is fed into local grids. Motion sensors also then collect data about movement behaviour; data which means that the fl oor’s functionality can be adjusted to user behaviour. For example, it can be cycle path by day and a footpath that lights up at night. Swiss start-up Technis used research conducted at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne to create a fl oor deigned to help event co-ordinators gauge the success of their events by monitoring the direction and keeping track of their walking trajectories. It uses machine learning techniques to produce powerful algorithms which, in turn, learn from the data that the system obtains, CEO Wiktor Bourée told technology writer Russel Davis of Robotics.news. The algorithms are equipped to distinguish various ways of walking, identify objects with wheels and detect a person that has fallen. The data collected is then translated into tables and charts that can be accessed real time through computers and mobile devices. “We wanted to create a system that could determine the number of


people entering and leaving an area in real time,” Bourée revealed in the Robotics interview. He added: “Our connected surface is easy to install for any type of synthetic fl ooring and provides a vast array of data for recognising and predicting visitor behaviour. Floors have long been overlooked in the quest to develop connected objects. These days, many companies such


as Technis are increasingly using artifi cial intelligence to “recognise and to classify” the diff erent events that happen on a sensitive surface, something that they insist will off er “limitless possibilities” in terms of applications, and levels of sensitivity have proved to be very impressive. The technology used behind ABCD Innovation’s, Sensifall underlay is, the company explains, based on the changes in weak electric fi elds that enable the detection of movement patterns. It can be placed under any fl exible fl ooring such as carpet or vinyl to detect possibly dangerous movements, such as a fall, signs of an intrusion, or unusual behaviour. But the detail is in the technical specifi cation: 626 contacts per tile – that’s one every square centimetre. Future-Shape has developed the SensFloor, a two-millimetre textile underlay that can be easily installed beneath fl exible coverings such as tiles and parquet. It’s a system that measures capacitance - changes to the local electric fi eld caused by a conductive object coming near the


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