Textiles these days are providing intelligent solutions with avant garde technologies. Clothes with sensors and LEDs are changing the way we define clothing. This has also brought new innovations in the field of home textiles and furnishings too. Traditionally, carpets or rugs were used to cover the floor, or beautify the interiors of a room, but today's smart carpets can monitor a person's activity, and even send signals to computers.
Carpets are the most prone to stains and dirt, whether used in commercial places or in residences. A premium carpet company from South Africa has developed a carpet that not only reduces stains, but also is anti-microbial and anti-allergenic. They use special fibres in making the carpet, which are treated with polypropylene. These Carpets are made by injecting pigments into nylon polymers while they are still in the molten stage, which help protecting the rugs from colorfastness, fading from excess light, and resist staining.
We spend a majority of our time staying indoors. Hence the air we breathe needs to be free from microbes and minute germs. This is where a smart carpet, which can capture and retain these harmful dust particles, and can reduce the concentration of fine particles by as much as eight times compared to hard floors, and regular carpets are of great use. This technology in carpets has helped in the treatment of asthma. The unique structure and design of these carpets makes sure dust is released while vacuuming.
Smart fabrics are now being used to make carpets that can detect the motion, temperature, pressure, and vibration. A Munich based research team has developed a carpet embedded with computer chips that can be used to monitor buildings, and give directions in case of emergency.
These carpets outfitted with LEDs can be used to provide directions in a building. It can further be used in the construction industry, where these fabrics can be wrapped around walls or are spread on floors of a newly constructed surface; and can detect faults in the concrete structure and prevent damage at an early stage.
Adapting a similar sensor technology, researchers from UK have come up with a carpet that can detect mobility problems. The carpet has an underlying layer of optical fibres, which bends when an individual steps on it, and helps map the person's walking pattern.
The small electronics that are attached at the edges of the carpet function as sensors and send signals to a computer. The signals then show images of different footprints that can be used to analyze gradual changes, in the pattern of walking of different people. The carpets are equipped to predict a fall or a sudden incident from the patterns of walking.
The utilization of these intelligent carpets is growing in the healthcare industry to monitor a patient's activity. They are used in places and homes where Alzheimer's patients live, to predict and detect when sudden falls have occurred. It would be very helpful to families with an Alzheimer's patient, so the sensors can send signals to members or a care taker, when an individual has fallen.
This technology is being developed as an elder-care product, which can be used in homes and care centers for old adults. Such carpeting can be used by nursing staffs in care centers to monitor movements and get alerts in case of falls or health changes.
Carpets are used extensively in homes, and applying the sensor and motion detecting technology can serve security and safety purposes. Once the carpet has detected patterns of the members of a house, any new foot pattern automatically signals the stepping in of an intruder, and the old rug lying on the floor turns into an alarm.
Shopping for carpets now, is not just picking a color and size. Since carpets are being used to keep the space in a room clean and healthy. One more technology being implemented in carpeting is cleaning the air of a room. The back and the fibre of the carpets are diffused with an organic salt solution, which at regular intervals reacts to the pressure from walking on it. The organic compounds, which are released when one walks on the carpet, neutralize the odor, without pulling the smell in the fabric of the carpet. This means the smoke of a cigarette lit up in a room and that of fresh flowers, will both be neutralized. These carpets do not hold on to any kind of aromas. Since it works on the neutralizing process, the odors are broken down and destroyed, leaving the room smelling clean and fresh.
There are many high-tech flooring options one can choose from be it for residential or commercial purposes. Carpets are becoming easier to clean and at the same time have become efficient enough to keep the surroundings clean. With floor coverings turning multi-functional and breakthrough technologies, smart carpets can be bought to suit one's need or purpose.