Magic carpet

See how we developed carpets with sensors to aid the elderly


What we do

With an interdisciplinary team, we created a ‘magic carpet’ which can immediately detect when someone has fallen over and can help to predict mobility problems. Falling is the most serious and frequent accident in the home and accounts for 50% of hospital admissions in the over 65s. Our scientists have demonstrated a ‘magic carpet’ that can show a steady deterioration or change in walking habits, possibly predicting a dramatic episode such as a fall.

They demonstrated that plastic optical fibres, laid on the underlay of a carpet, bend when anyone treads on it and map, in real-time, their walking patterns. Tiny electronics at the edges act as sensors and relay signals to a computer, which can then be analysed to show the image of the footprint and identify gradual changes in walking behaviour or a sudden incident such as a fall or trip.

We believe this technology could be used to fit smart carpets in care homes or hospital wards, as well as being fitted in people’s homes if necessary. Physiotherapists could also use the carpet to map changes and improvements in a person’s gait.

We pioneered this new kind of tomography here at The University of Manchester in 2005. Now we are delighted to show how achievements in maths, science and engineering can bring together this exciting new application in healthcare.

Prof Krikor Ozanyan

Study here

Electronic Engineering MEng, BEng

On this Undergraduate course you will learn to tackle problems involving digital circuits and full systems in order to manipulate the massive amounts of data that modern technology uses.

Related research

Sensing, Imaging and Signal Processing

The Group focuses on multidisciplinary measurement, signal-analysis and sensor development in chemical, mechanical, electrical, security, biological and healthcare systems.

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