Smart flooring that can simplify alerting

The ELSI Smart Floor underfloor sensing laminate is a thin laminated copper based sensor that offers some potentially very valuable benefits. According to the website, the capacitative sensing technology can be used to trigger alerts created by patient movements. Examples given are:

  • Falling/slumping on the floor
  • Getting out of bed
  • Triggering lighting when getting out of bed
  • Going to the toilet
  • Leaving the room at night time
  • Staying anywhere where someone shouldn’t stay for any length of time such as the toilet, or on a balcony in wintertime

There’s no indication of price or the difficulty of installation; one presumes it would be best suited for hospitals and residential care establishments as a permanent installation.  There’s also no indication of sensitivity and the danger of false alerts – it’s clearly got to be pretty sensitive to pickup changes in the capacitance of a floor so false alerts is a topic I’d want to explore before making an investment.

That said, it looks to be a very exciting development, that does not require users to wear devices, cannot be fiddled with or switched off by users and, sadly equally important, cannot easily be tampered with by cleaning staff or require regular replacement (as opposed for example to bed sensors).

There would also seem to be the benefit that the output could be used for ADL (activities of daily living) monitoring too (though there is no mention of equipment that this Finnish company provides that could do that).

Clearly this will potentially have other applications in addition to monitoring frail people – the website, under ‘ongoing developments’ also mentions:

  • gaming solutions
  • elevator systems
  • pedestrian counting systems
  • energy optimisation systems
  • prisons
  • intruder and flood detection systems.

This seems a most exciting addition to the array of sensors available, particularly because it requires nothing to be worn and cannot easily be disabled or wear out.