The floors of your home are the foundation of your support and comfort.
All day long you’re walking back and forth, chasing kids down the hall, running after your pets, and just living in general. Your floors get a lot of traffic. So why wouldn’t you want to install smart flooring in those high-traffic areas?
While smart-home tech for flooring is still being developed, there is some tech that has recently hit the market. The impact of this tech could change the way homes and businesses save money and become more energy-efficient.
For example Future Shape has SensFloor, which is a smart floor that has been used effectively in nursing homes and some businesses. The smart floor can recognize frequented paths, estimate fall risks, evaluate work progress, recognize emergency situations, evaluate health status, and so much more. In order for this to work, the textile has a very thin layer of sensors installed in it, and these sensors send data to a central warehouse.
Some companies have been able to get their smart floors to generate energy on top of movement sensors. Elizabeth Redmond’s POWERleap creation is able to apply piezoelectricity to smart-floor textiles. They light up as you walk over them.
Pavegen has created tiles which generate electricity when someone walks over them. The sensors pick up when someone has stepped on them and then it produces energy by changing the magnetic field underneath. London Heathrow Airport has some of this flooring in place. Laurence Kemball-Cook, the smart-floor creator, stated in an interview with The Guardian, that each floor step generates around 7 watts of energy and the energy is then stored in batteries. This energy can power lighting when it is needed, as it is an off-grid electricity source.
Having this renewable, practical, and efficient energy source is game changing for businesses and may be a game changer for homes in the future.
Q: Are smart floors affordable?
A: Right now, smart floors are maybe a little more attainable at a business/corporation level. They’re still in their beginnings stages. But with more research, eventually smart flooring will be more affordable.
Q: Can floors act as solar panels?
A: Though this technology is in its infancy, there are some inventions such as paint that acts as solar receptors that can be painted on homes, streets, floors, etc. It will be interesting to see where research and funding takes the idea of our floors and roads becoming solar panels.