Scientists at Dublin's Trinity College are working on a high-tech sofa which could have many applications for the future lifestyles of consumers.

It may not look like much right now, but could this sofa be the furniture of the future?

The smart sofa is described as the next big development in computing and technology.

A glimpse into the future

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin are taking part in the 'Intelligent Furniture' project funded by Enterprise Ireland. Sensors are attached to the furniture to detect the movement and weight of those sitting down. This enables the computer to recognise the individual and make choices for them. The programme could be attached to a child's cot to measure movements which could have other uses in healthcare and leisure.

Computer Science lecturer at TCD Mads Haahr says that the project will lead to a lot of potential applications from ordering pizza to switching on the TV. However, he believes the most interesting applications of the technology will be in the healthcare domain. 

The scientists have also been working on developing a smart sword to help them improve sporting techniques. Again, the technology is based on sensors attached to a computer system. While this is in a prototype stage of development, it could also be used to help golfers improve their swing. According to Research Assistant Sergey Tzvetkov, the technology can provide real advice on how to improve your technique in any sport.  

Perhaps, one day in the future, smart technology like this will be in all our homes.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 21 September 2003. The reporter is Gareth O'Connor.