View Full Version : summary of labfloors

Marietta Van Der Linden
06-22-1998, 04:55 PM
Dear all,

Thanks very much to everybody who replied to my question on the
best colour and material for lab floors.
Below is a summary of replies.


Marietta van der Linden
Dep of Rehabilitation
University of Salford
Salford, UK
e-mail m.linden@rehab.salford.ac.uk


I use a dark cord carpet in the lab in Derby It works very well and would
not hesitate to reinstall

Steve Attfield

Derby Gait Lab

Dear Madam

The swiss company Forbo makes a low reflection floor covering called
Sure Step which we use for the walkway we sell together with our
portable force plates. It has very low infrared reflection and excellent
slip resistance too. I am not sure about the availability in the UK. It
is expensive.

Best Regards
Christian Calame
Christian Calame, Product Manager Biomechanics
Kistler Instrumente AG Winterthur, P.O.Box 304,
CH-8408 Winterthur, Switzerland
Tel: +41 52 224 11 11, Fax: +41 52 224 14 14
E-Mail: cl@kistler.ch, http://www.kistler.ch/biomech


In 1989 I built a new motion laboratory here at UT Southwestern, and had
the opportunity to construct the lab from the ground up. I had similar
concerns to the ones you describe regarding floor reflectance.

I decided to use the middle support layer used to make indoor/outdoor
running surfaces common to many sports and fitness clubs in the US. The
surface itself is a 1/4 inch synthetic rubber that comes in 4 foot wide
sheets, cut to length from 500foot rolls. Normally, this is placed as the
base of the running surface, and then sealed using a special urethane
sealant. All I did was apply a heavy carpet glue to the concrete slab, and
then roll out 6-70 foot long sheets to cover the 24 foot width of the lab,
using a heavy weighted roller to ensure good contact. No top coat sealant
was used. We then just cut out around our forceplates, and shored up the
edges with some vinyl molding. We are not of the belief that you should
try to conceal the existence of the force plates by covering them; the
subject knows they are there anyway, and it adversely affects shear

The floor itself has been remarkably robust, and has outlasted the tile
floor immediately adjacent to it; although it does attract dust. It is
black and since it is rubber, has zero reflectance. We have had children
and adults, patients and athletes, in dress shoes, running shoes, and
barefoot walk, run, and fall on it, without problem. It is not cold to
bare feet, and is not easily damaged by moving heavy equipment across it.
Cleaning is rather simple; just vacuum it.

The cost, of course, is higher than conventional tile floors; but I think
it has been worth it. When we built the lab, I ordered it from the
following vendor. Not sure if they still are in business, or if they have
an European distributer.

Let me know what you decide.

Best regards,


Vendor: California Products Corporation
169 Waverly St, PO Box 569
Cambridge, MA 02139

| James J. Carollo, Ph.D., P.E. james.carollo@email.swmed.edu
| Senior Research Scientist
| Mobility Research and Assessment Laboratory
| The University of Texas
| Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
| 9705 Harry Hines Blvd., Suite 105
| Dallas, TX USA 75208 (214) 351-2041


I have just been through this process in planning a new motion lab, and
eventually settled on the "Nevamar" model MR-6-1 decorative HPL laminate
made by International Paper. This panel is a neutral gray and has a light
reflectance value of 33.8%, versus 73.2% for the ST-6-1 "Gray Starlite"
model which is the color typically used for most raised computer floors.
Hope this helps.

Terry Horn, Ph.D
Mississippi Methodist Rehabilitation Center


Hi Marietta

We have a MacReflex system. Most of the laboratory is painted black.
Even so we found problems with reflections from cameras being detected
by cameras at the opposite end of the room. The solution was to use
the sync-delay facility on the video processors to put the cameras at
the far end of the lab slightly behind those at the near end.


Ergonomics and Work Psychology Section
Health and Safety Laboratory, Broad Lane, Sheffield, S3 7HQ, UK
Tel +44 114 289 2594; Fax +44 114 289 2526
HSE home page: http://www.open.gov.uk/hse/hsehome.htm

Hello Marietta

Generally-speaking, the floors I have seen in most of the labs I have
been to are a grey, matt-colored linoleum, of a thickness of 2-4 mm.
Since the floor-covering material is quite important, depending on the
type of research you are doing, you need to take into consideration the
durabillity of the material, the friction coefficients (for running
studies etc ...), it's washability (if you are sticking tape, or any
other material to the floor)). Motion Analysis can provide filters with
their systems, which will reduce all non-visible red reflections.
Daylight notch filters can be provided as well, for any outdoor
marker-based work - again removing all un-necessary light of specific
wavelengths . You may want to check with the APAS people if they have
such options available. Let me know if you need any more information.


Barry O'Flynn
European Sales and Support
Motion Analysis Corporation
London, U.K.

Tel: +44 (0)181 747-0396
Fax: +44 (0)181 742-8608
Cell: +44 (0)46 737-2084
Email: barry.oflynn@motionanalysis.com
Web: http://www.motionanalysis.com


Dear Marietta,

We use the APAS system too with 5 cameras. We put a black blanket (carpet?)
on the floor and painted the walls very dark blue. This works OK, the foor
does not reflect light. But you might notice that we direct all light
towards a white cealing.

Erik B. Simonsen

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++
Erik B. Simonsen, Associate Professor, M.Sc. Ph.D.
Institute of Medical Anatomy section C.
Panum Institute. University of Copenhagen
Blegdamsvej 3., DK-2200 Copenhagen N
Phone: +45 35 32 72 30 (work) Fax: +45 35 32 72 17
Phone: +45 45 89 45 86 (home)
E-mail: E.Simonsen@mai.ku.dk
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++


I posed the same question about a year ago because we were building a new
human performance laboratory here at Duke University(which has just been
completed!) Anyway, here are some of the factors to consider/summary of
responses/recommendations that I received. We were also mounting force
plates underneath the floor.

1) Consider reflection. Carpet surface good for that.
2) Light colored vinyl floor: problems - needs buffing to keep clean, needs
a mat surface which contrasts well with subject's skin color to get good
video recordings, reflections off the floor.
3) Nike lab seems to be asphalt base and rubber composite material on top -
feels like outdoor track runway.
4) Concrete with epoxy finish. Epoxy is designed to have low reflectivity,
good resistance and wear characteristics.
5) Cement filled raised floor tiles
6) Commercial vinyl tiles.
7) Linoleum floor
8) Force plates in a pit, therefore they are flush with the floor. Put in
a cable so wires are not all over the place.
9) Lab floor: concrete, forceplates mounted flush, then covered with
plastic tiles.

Here at Duke, we went with a Mondo track surface, which is similar to our
outdoor runway track. I think it is similar or the same to what Nike has
(point #3). We have a Motion Analysis system and do a lot of research in
running/cutting maneuvers. So we wanted a surface with low reflectivity,
and good slip resistance which Mondo surface has. It does seem to collect
dirt fairly easily, however. If you are just doing gait analysis, you
might want to consider carpeting which is what we had when I worked in the
Gait Lab at the University of Virginia.

Hope this helps.


Scott Colby
Duke University Sports Medicine


I am working with a motion capture system and had similar problems.
I used dark colored short pile carpet to eliminate the reflections. You
want a dark fuzzy surface to make sure that the light is absorbed and
scattered by the surface. If the surface is dark and smooth you will get
reflections just like asphalt at night.

Joseph McIntyre
Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering
Auburn University, Auburn AL

Dear Marietta van der Linden,

I do not know how well your systems are working, but I think with
MacReflex you have to put markers on the object you want to analyse. Why
don`t you have a look at a marker-less system with very high accuracy ?
My experiences with this SIMI Motion Sytem are very good!
Just go to: http://www.simi.net

Yours sincerely

Wolfgang Pagani

PS: Let your floor not be too bright or to dark, try some grey colours


We have a Vicon system and don't seem to have a problem with our
It is a darkish grey lino material. Although it doesn't look
particularly attractive we have had no problems


Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics
Roehampton Institute, London
Tele: 0181 392 3541
e-mail: c.diss@roehampton.ac.uk

Dear Marietta:

You might want to consider a durable carpet for your floor. We have had
good luck with our gray "office buidling" carpet, which is comfortable
for our subjects and staff to walk and run on, and does not reflect
light. The pictures of our lab on our web site might help.

- Glenn

Glenn S. Fleisig, Ph.D.
work phone: 205-918-2138
work fax: 205-918-0800
address: American Sports Medicine Institute
1313 13th Street South
Birmingham, Alabama 35205
web site: http://www.asmi.org
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