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Intelligent carpet can autodiscriminate

Darren Murph

Next time you walk into a hiring office and spot freshly laid carpet, you might want to ensure you're at an equal opportunity employer. A new kind of floor covering has been invented at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan that determines the weight, age, and sex of the individuals strolling across. Aside from allowing hiring managers to make snap decisions about the person approaching their door, the team hopes to use it in less dodgy scenarios such as analyzing shopping patterns or audience demographics at various entertainment venues. The carpet's intelligence is derived from a layer of silicone rubber with built-in electrodes that measure the changes in electrical resistance and current flow caused by someone walking across it. Testing has produced a nearly perfect record when determining ages between 20 and 60, and gender is identified with about 75 percent accuracy -- eerie to say to the least. Although it cannot yet identify your alma mater or intelligence level, at least you can blame the carpet for your demise whenever an interview goes awry.

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