After developing the concept for the past two years, Philips is ready to begin rolling out LED-enhanced "Luminous Carpets" in North America. Click through to see what the future of flooring might look like.
With LEDs buried beneath specially designed carpet tiles, Philips' take on flooring seems like an especially good fit for directing airport foot-traffic, as this mock-up shot suggests.
The floor lighting could also make it easier to find your way to your hotel room, and could even make for a high-tech spin on the classic "Do Not Disturb" sign.
With low, glare-free ambient light, the flooring also seems like a good fit for theaters.
Philips also envisions its new carpets providing guidance during emergencies.
That last bit would certainly come in handy during a fire, when smoke might obscure traditional exit signage.
The LED carpets aren't merely intended to guide foot traffic, though. Offices could use them for room-specific messaging, or to post ticker-like newsfeed updates.
Philips partnered with Desso, a high-end European flooring manufacturer, to design the carpets. Each tile is specially designed to be "light transmissive" -- when the LEDs are on, they shine right through. When they're off, they disappear completely.
The carpets can be installed in a number of ways. The LEDs promise to last 20 years or more, and are designed to withstand spills, cleaning, and heavy foot traffic without malfunctioning or overheating.
Philips has already tested its Luminous Carpets out in cities like Berlin and at this architectural exhibit in Venice.