Nursing homes in the UK could soon be fitted with carpets that use optical fibres to alert staff when someone has fallen and needs assistance.

Dubbed the “magic carpet”, it uses technology that works by embedding a series of optical fibres into a grid-like position under an existing carpet. These fibres then send electronic signals to a computer station so movements can be monitored in real time. 

Should a resident have a fall, the change in pressure on the carpet will alert staff immediately, enabling them to administer assistance faster than they otherwise might be able to.

The technology is currently only a prototype, but the team of University of Manchester scientists behind the project is awaiting confirmation of a patent application. The the fibres can be fitted to existing carpets will also help keep costs down. 

It’s hoped the magic carpet will soon be available commercially to nursing homes across the UK.