They say the walls have ears. But what if the floors could feel where you are walking and how you are walking? A New York City start-up called Tactonic Technologies has revolutionized the computer touch sensor, making them tough enough and cheap enough to turn an entire floor, maybe an entire gym or theme park into a surface that senses footsteps.
“It can be tiled, so we can take two sensors and seamlessly butt them together, and make a sensor twice as big,” says Gerry Seidman, Tactonic’s Chief Executive Officer. “In fact you can cover the entire area of a room.”
Tactonic’s technology can track people as they move through spaces, such as airports or shopping malls. The sensors can also detect more subtle balance and pressure information, which the company hopes to apply to the medical and physical therapy fields.
“We can tell about the posture, whether [a person is] improving in their therapy or maybe detect Parkinson’s disease,” says Seidman, who adds that the sensors are superior in some ways to video recording devices. “If you are getting ready to take a step, you telegraph to the floor that you are going to take a step, even before a camera could pick it up.”
Click on the audio player above to hear more about Tactonic, its founding and its future. And tell us: How would you use a touch sensitive floor?