Would You Install Pressure Mat Sensors In Security Applications?
Would You Install Pressure Mat Sensors – Would you install pressure mat sensors in a security and safety application – what are SEN’s thoughts on the capability of these devices?
A: Pressure mats used to be a staple sensing technology in the 1980s and 1990s, when they were used to detect human presence in the sorts of challenging environments where volumetric detectors might struggle. They were also used under floor mats as a discreet intrusion detection measure.
Pressure mats were also used as a form of alarm verification – if a reed switch was activated at an entry door and immediately afterwards a pressure mat was activated, that was a form of double knock when it came to an operator deciding whether to call police or send a patrol vehicle, which might be carding up entry doors an hour’s drive away.
A benefit of a pressure mat is that it might be installed in front of a safe, network rack, or other high value item or area, where it could confirm the intrusion and loitering of a person (multiple activations on a 24-hour zone) with virtually no chance of false alarm when a security system was disarmed during working hours. They also last a very long time in low traffic areas – decades. There are stories of 40 year old pressure mats still plugging away.
Would You Install Pressure Mat Sensors?
Whether or not we’d install a pressure mat these days is fraught by a number of considerations – the first being that there are not too many options available on the market (please tell us if you carry one, disties), and this might limit supply options to quirky corners of the internet.
A couple of years ago there was a brilliant fibre optic pressure mat released for perimeter applications by Canberra tech house, Perimeter Security Industries, called LED Sensormat. As far as we know, that technology has now made its way into the health sector, where it helps measure balance in medical applications as a product called Balance Mat.
Something to note is that some modern pressure mats are all wireless – that makes them quite a flexible device – but not as flexible as a camera.
Would You Install Pressure Mat Sensors
Speaking of medical applications, pressure mats would be of real benefit in applications where elderly folk need to be monitored for slips, trips and falls, particularly falls out of bed. In such applications, a pressure mat could indicate a fall in very low light conditions where no other technology could accurately signal the situation – for instance a fall which rendered a person unconscious or otherwise unable to activate a medical alert fob.
There are a number of different types of pressure mat. Early pressure mats were basically just a switch in which foil loops inside the mat were pushed together to form a circuit through foot pressure. These mats registered any pressure sufficient to make a connection – a dog’s paw, for instance.
Pressure pads are more rugged and designed for commercial and industrial applications. They could be a metre by a metre in size, making them hard to avoid, and were made of more robust materials, like rubber.
Finally, piezoelectric pads are designed to signal an alarm event when pressure placed on the mat’s integrated piezo and generates an electrical signal which can be amplified to breach a circuit threshold. A piezoelectric mat with pulse count properly installed with protected cabling is a highly robust intrusion detection device which could confirm the presence of human intrusion with or without the support of additional sensors.
Would You Install Pressure Mat Sensors?
There are caveats with pressure mats. You only get signalling of intrusion after the intrusion event; there’s no way to tell who the intruder is, or what the intruder is doing; being open circuit, there’s no indication of power fail; being open circuit, it’s easier to bridge the alarm circuit; and finally, if the mat is recognised as a sensing device by an intruder, it can simply be walked around.
Would we use a piezoelectric pressure mat in a modern application? Maybe. It would be an unexpected sensing device from an intruder’s point of view. Wheteher we’d install one in a topical application would depend on what we were trying to achieve and what sort of alarm or alarm access panel was currently installed in the application.
“Would You Install Pressure Mat Sensors In Security Applications?”