IBM patents… a new type of floor?

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IBM has recently been awarded a patent, originally applied for in February 2009, that covers an intelligent floor.

The patent describes a “room-sized multi-touch input device” that can identify weight and shapes and gives two possible applications for such a device. The first is surveillance, with the smart floor detecting when an unauthorised person or persons has entered a home. The second concerns healthcare. The multi-touch floor could detect when a person is lying prone on the floor and, by retrieving the person’s heart rate, ascertain whether there is a health emergency and possibly contact emergency services.

Whether a gadget-crazy world is ready to turn the surfaces they walk on every day into a gigantic touch-screen, should IBM ever put this patent into production, remains to be seen. There are obvious benefits to such technology but there would also be many new privacy issues to consider.

Source: CNET

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