How did the company become involved in smart flooring?
It was very much due to political discussions. Governments around the world were facing some big challenges due to the large numbers of elderly people, primarily relating to the finances, staff and facilities that were required to provide a sufficient standard of care.
The only solution was to develop technologies to assist and help. Assisted living spaces, like nursing homes, needed to be upgraded to improve the care, as there were not enough available warm hands. At the same time, the standard of care needed to be improved whilst keeping cost savings in mind. Governments were looking for technical solutions hence the focus on ‘smart’ floors.
What excites you about the product?
The most exciting aspect for me is the feedback that we get. We can help people lead a more normal life (safe and secure), even if we are talking about elderly with dementia, but when I receive calls from our customers who tell me that our system has saved a person’s life, it is the most appreciated feedback a human being can receive – it makes the business even more exciting.
How does it work?
The Smart Floor system – carefully designed in conjunction with professional nurses – works through sensors that record how patients and residents in care homes, hospitals and rehabilitation centres move around the facilities day-to-day.
The sensors have multiple uses, from detecting when a patient has fallen over, to when they get out of bed and walk to the bathroom. All of these prompts are then communicated wirelessly to the nurses’ computers or smart phone devices, allowing them to monitor patients and act as and when required. Not only that, it helps them to learn patterns of behaviour and informs an understanding of how they can prevent any harm in the future.
The technology around Elsi Smart Floor is similar to today's touchpads and tablet computers. Touchpads operate in one of several ways, including capacitive sensing and conductance sensing. The most common technology used as of 2010, entails sensing the capacitive virtual ground effect of motion on the floor, together with the position of a user’s fingers on the relative position on the operating system's screen. This video will provide more details on how the technology works:
Is it easy to install?
Elsi Smart Floor is easy and quick to install either in existing or in new facilities. The installation of the Elsi Smart Floor is similar to the installation of traditional linoleum carpets. It is easily and quickly laid, and is fully protected by the top floor carpet, giving it a long life time. This video shows how the Elsi Smart Floor is installed:
How big are the benefits of a smart floor?
The sensors effectively make a care home’s floor a nurse in itself – from detecting when a patient has fallen over, to when they get out of bed and walk to the bathroom. All of these prompts are then communicated wirelessly to the nurses’ computers or smart devices, alerting them to any situations whereby a patient might require assistance. But alongside this instantaneous detection of potential emergencies, it provides nurses with foresight that allows them to learn patients’ patterns of behaviour, which can in turn drive the implementation of new processes and practices in how they deliver care.
The implantation of a product like the Smart Floor brings with it a sizeable change in how care home staffs operate. As such, training staff on how to understand and use the product is arguably the most vital element in maximising its effectiveness. So far the system has been widely embraced by nursing staff.
What are the main markets for the system?
Nursing homes, rehabilitation centres, hospitals with special wards for elderly people, and private homes when we speak about the eLea Activity Sensing as it is a wireless system.
Elsi Smart Floor can be used in Smart Buildings when integrated into Building Management Systems, controlling light, heat, air-conditioning and elevators. We can, for example, see how many people are standing outside waiting for an elevator and how many are inside, meaning we can optimise the transport of people which can reduce the cost of elevators in a large scale building with a large number of people traffic flow. Our Elsi Smart Floors can also be implemented with our intelligent dynamic guiding lighting called the MILS® System which is used for fire evacuation.
How do you see the product developing?
Both our systems (Elsi and eLea) are being further developed day by day, as we are a member of our customers’ working groups, which have a big impact on new features in the systems for the future.
Should people contact you directly or do you have resellers?
We do work with resellers, but readers can contact me directly:
Palle Stevn, COO/President MariCare
Tel: +358 50 462 1613
About Palle Stevn
Palle Stevn is a Danish electrical engineer with a passion for new technologies that can make a genuine difference in people’s normal life – by saving lives and improving safety and security, and by contributing to improved environmental performance in the form of energy efficiency and reduced CO₂.
MariGroup is comprised of companies that represent and fulfil these passions. They are all dedicated to helping people, and every product or system produced is based on new, cutting-edge patent technologies.
Stevn became president and COO of one of these companies in 2013 – MariCare, which manufactures sophisticated ‘Smart Floor’ technology for use in the healthcare sector. The technology helps healthcare staff to detect when a patient/resident has fallen down, whilst allowing them to analyse patterns of behaviour that can influence future care processes and protocols.