In the past couple of decades, we have become used to interacting with our world through a lens of technology – but that lens is about to change yet again. Researchers at the Hasso Platner Institute are working on a project that will completely change how technology affects our everyday lives. The group is working on a smart floor that will effectively add a new dimension of interactive tech to our environment.
The smart floor itself is called Multitoe. The interface detects people and things standing on it. Then a complementary system called GravitySpace uses special software and a projector located beneath a glass floor to show avatars moving around the room. The avatars are each associated with a specific person (these have to be set up ahead of time) and follow that person around, creating a sort of digital double. The floor is so sensitive that it can detect your posture and movements through only a few small points of contact (such as your feet).
This system has the potential to completely change the way we interact with our environments. Because the floor can sense every object in physical contact with it, it is able to tell when there are multiple people in the room. Apps could be developed to play games or communicate through the floor itself. The team behind the project predicts that eventually the technology will find its way into removable carpets, so that when you move into a new place you have only to roll out the carpet and get started enjoying your digital life in a new physical environment.