A new flooring technology can drastically reduce fall injuries among the elderly. Rubber spikes activate in the event of a sudden impact and can prevent, for example, femoral fractures. The technology is based on KTH research and was initially developed with the support of the Kraftcentrum Flemingsberg program.
The idea for the new flooring technology is based on research conducted at the same Flemingsberg hub responsible for the successful Mips helmet technology. Taking the step towards reducing fall injuries originated from a suggestion made by a business coach at Flemingsberg Science.
“Something that was initially a side avenue has become an important product that could help large numbers of people. It feels great and I really hope that we can get exposure for the product,” says Svein Kleiven, professor at KTH.
The flooring technology currently being developed by Igelkott Golv AB contains an inner layer of bendy plastic spikes that dampen the impact of falls. The spikes soften falls, even though the flooring feels as firm to walk on as a normal floor.
A preliminary application of the flooring was made in 2017 at the Verklighetslabb at Stureby elderly care home, where a gym floor was fitted with the fall-dampening flooring, an installation that was renewed in spring 2019 with a new type of rubber flooring.
“We had a few problems that have since been addressed. The next step is further development to produce a solution for wet-rooms,” he says.
The idea is that every apartment at the home is fitted with the fall-dampening flooring.
The flooring is also installed in Flemingsberg in a smaller bedroom at KTH Integration lab. The lab has a full-scale mock-up of an apartment for technical healthcare innovations.
“We’re planning to install our flooring in all rooms in the apartment once we’ve developed a wet-room solution. We’ll start work on this in the autumn,” says Kleiven.
When the complete solution is ready, it will be time to distribute the product more widely on the market. Product development is being conducted by the Igelkott Golv company: that name in English? Appropriately: Hedgehog Carpet.