iMagiMat 'Magic Carpet' showcased

A 'magic carpet' which can immediately detect when someone has fallen and can help to predict mobility problems was exhibited at the Conservative Party Conference held in Manchester from September 30th to October 2nd.

iMagiMat 'Magic Carpet' showcased at the Conservative Party Conference held in Manchester
The iMagiMat exhibition stand, which attracted considerable interest from delegates at the Conservative Party Conference

The iMagiMat demonstration was one of four University of Manchester exhibits which were visited by Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, as well as hundreds of conference delegates. Conference-goers were able to walk on the mat and see their walking patterns mapped to the attached laptop in real-time.

The iMagiMat - developed by an interdisciplinary team including Dr Patricia Scully from the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science - is made up of plastic optical fibres laid on the underlay of a carpet. Tiny electronics at the edges of the mat sense when these fibres bend and then relay signals to a computer.

In addition to detecting when someone has fallen, the carpet could be used by physiotherapists to map changes and improvements in a person’s gait. The imaging technology is so versatile it could even be developed to detect the presence of chemical spillages or fire as an early-warning system.

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