Philips developing LED-embedded carpets to replace public signs
After developing some innovative ways to add LEDs to wallpaper, and even the backside of televisions, it looks like Philips is setting its sights on lighting the floor beneath our feet as well. The company recently partnered with Desso, a high-quality carpeting producer, to create a new type of carpet embedded with LEDs that can turn any floor space into a customizable lighting array.
The project is still in its infancy, so neither company has revealed many details on how the final product will actually work, or even an official name for it yet. All they've mentioned so far is that it will involve a layer of LEDs beneath a special light transmissive carpet, giving it the appearance of an ordinary carpet until it's lit. With each LED shining through distinctly, the carpet could be programmed to display important messages, directions, or other information, much like an electronic billboard.
The goal is to replace the usual signs and notices in some high-traffic indoor areas, such as airports and offices, with this light-up carpeting. Besides freeing up some wall space, the two companies believe the proposed lighting system could catch people's attention more readily, since many people tend to look down when walking. When it's not displaying a message though, the light transmissive carpet could also glow softly to give the room a distinctive tone or ambiance.
Once it launches, the carpet will be available in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes to suit almost any space. The two companies have already presented a few examples of specific places where their idea could be implemented, such as replacing the "Do Not Disturb" signs in hotels. Probably the most useful idea they've mentioned however is to have the carpet display guide lights in an emergency and direct people on a safe route towards the exits, much like on an airplane. Both companies hope their invention will also give interior decorators a new tool to work with when designing a room.
Philips and Desso are already looking for buildings in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to begin installing their LED carpet, though the actual product name won't be revealed until it officially launches sometime in 2014.