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[infowar.de] Smart carpet can spot fires, steer feet and sell beer
Smart carpet can spot fires, steer feet and sell beer
John Lui, CNETAsia
May 08, 2003, 14:13 BST
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Chip maker Infineon has developed a 'smart' fabric that can detect
movement, changes in temperature or display advertising slogans on airships
German chipmaker Infineon has unveiled an electronic textile that can make
floors, walls and even building columns part of a building's security,
maintenance or climate-control system.
The textile contains a weave of conductive fibre studded with sensor chips
and LEDs (light emitting diodes).
After being fitted to a floor and hooked up to a power source and a
computer, the electronic carpet becomes "aware" of the position of each
sensor chip, said the chipmaker.
"Each chip communicates via a self-learning and self-organising network
with its immediate neighbour and uses a software algorithm to ascertain its
own position," according to Infineon.
Among its uses: Visitors can be guided by following a breadcrumb trail of
LEDs; pressure sensors can detect intruders; temperature sensors can detect
a fire while the LEDs mark out an escape route.
A few dead chips are not a problem, says the firm.
"If an element within the network is faulty, the chips automatically search
for new ways in order to maintain the communication."
As with its smart clothing, the "smart carpet" -- the term used by Infineon
-- is for now just a demonstration product, with commercial possibilities
still years in the future.
Werner Weber, senior director of the emerging technologies division at
Infineon said it will take "two years to produce a fully functional and
intelligent woven material that could be used to cover a wide area."
Other uses for a smart textile include embedding it into concrete walls and
columns to monitor stress, giving building inspectors an inside view of a
Finally, the fabric can be stretched over an airship, with the LEDs made to
blink out advertising messages, according to Infineon.
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