Friday, May 10, 2013
We’ve all heard of “smart appliances” and “smart televisions”, but what about “smart floors”?
A German company has pioneered the innovative use of LED glass panels for sports flooring, focusing specifically on tennis, basketball, squash and badminton courts. The LED lights are used to illuminate the boundary lines on the court, and can be switched on and off using a touch screen. This is particularly useful for schools and sports centres, since the lines can be changed instantly, depending on which sport is being played.
The glass floor in question consists of 160 panels that are coated with a special ceramic print – this ensures that the tiles are durable, skid-resistant and shock-absorbent. There are channels running underneath the glass floor for the white and coloured LED lights, and the entire structure is supported by an aluminium framework.
The company also conducted numerous bounce tests, to ensure that the glass panels perfectly mimicked traditional wood basketball courts – they made sure that the ball bounced the to the same height on both kinds of flooring. The glass panels were also dulled to ensure they were not too reflective or distracting – they are currently about as shiny as a standard marble surface.
The development of LED technology means that team and sponsor logos could be projected directly from the playing surface. In addition, the panels could be used to detect exactly where the ball lands, to eliminate the need for replay technology and accurately resolve disputes over the ball being out of play or not. The panels can also be used to detect the exact position of the player’s feet.
Indeed, this kind of flooring has great potential. It can be used both inside and outside, and can be used by corporate spaces, hotels and retail establishments for advertising purposes, reducing the need for billboards or posters – a much more sustainable method of promoting brands and products.
Light Up the Dance Floor
LED lights have been used in club dance floors for the past few years. These glass tiles can light up in different colours, or change colours based on touch (i.e. when someone stands on them). They can also be used to create various visual effects and flash sequences, which add to the disco/club ambience.
Visual floors could also be incredibly useful in large centres where people have a propensity to get lost! Imagine having floor arrows to guide you to your destination. The possibilities are endless, and only time will tell how we incorporate LED floors into everyday life.
Grace Matthews is a London-based lifestyle blogger who swears by steam cleaners to disinfect and clean her carpets after her gorgeous animals have rolled all over them.