The University of Manchester in England is currently developing what is being known as “smart” carpet, which may be used in the future to keep track of nursing home patients and protect them from accidents and nursing home abuse. The carpet is embedded with optical fibers that measure the changes in light to detect the weight and movement of people and all other objects placed on it, according to InnovationNewsDaily.com.
While there are currently only small-sized prototypes being used at the university, the carpet may someday be used throughout a nursing home’s premises in order to track everyone on the grounds instead of placing cameras everywhere. The carpets could detect if a person fell and send an alarm to staff in order to come to the resident’s aid. Additionally, the optical fibers could track a subject’s walking rhythm and collect data to determine if he or she is developing any movement disorders.
Fiber optics in the carpets are advanced enough to also determine weight and measure moisture, temperature, and pH changes, which could be used to monitor patients in hospital beds.
Such monitoring could keep nursing home residents safer and help responses to accidents become as efficient as possible, but could also be used to prevent and end abuse. Nursing home staff that is under-supervised or inadequate for the amount of residents can often result in serious cases of abuse or neglect that can last for years.
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