Textile sensor for object scanning and inventory management record

Textile sensor has been integrated on pressure sensitivity textile to produce the smart-shelf-scan, which can detect the object through their weights and send the information wirelessly (via smart-phone) to the control room to record the information of inventory management

Figure 1: Smart-Shelf-Scan of Single (left) and multiple (right) rack sensor system

Collecting the data of high product availability, storage time, displacement, replacement, product thief or out of stock at a minimal operating cost of a retail industry is always a challenge. The situations of an ordinary store in which products are already in the store but not on the shelf (e.g. in the backroom) cause upto 10% of all stockouts, which results in a loss of sales over 4%. The reason behind this out of stocks in most retail stores are manually detection only when a store employee visually identifies that a product is no longer stocked on the shelf and then the employee must record the product needed, find the product in the storage or warehouse area of the store, and re-stock the product.

Figure 2: The change in resistance of the Smart-Shelf-Scan correlates with the load

Which is time-consuming, costly, and inefficient. Furthermore, it is important to have a record of time that may pass between the last product being removed from the shelf and identification of the availability of the product in stock. Whereas an automatic inventory system directly from the shelf that seamlessly up- dates inventory records of a retail industry by scanning and detecting an object through their weight of products on display. Textile base sensor “Smart-Shelf-Scan” (Figure 1 and Figure 3) has been developed within the frame of the TCCV project in order to detect an object putted on the shelf measuring its load.

Smart-Shelf-Scan is using the piezoresistive principle of textile sensor integrated on pressure sensitivity textile, which can detect the object by their weights by changing the resistant and send the information wirelessly (via smart-phone) to the control room for the inventory management record. The weight sensitivity of the sensor has been measured applying a load resolution of above 20 g/cm2. As can be seen in the Figure 2 the resistant value of the sensor has been changed by changing the load applied onto the textile sensor. With no load the resistant value is around 44.5 Ohm, whereas by increasing the load upto 1.5 Kg the value decreases down to 15.6 ohm.

Figure 3: Smart-Shelf-Scan built in retail rack.

However, the wireless signal transmission for real time monitoring system has been developed together with the Partner Kapsch (Figure 4), which provides the information of the inventory management related datas such as presence or absence of the objects, weight, placement or replacement time etc.

Figure 4: Multi-sensor Smart-Shelf-Scan mounted into Retail store

The sensitivity of the Smart-Shelf-Scan is being sufficient for the detection of a large variety of objects. As in the retail industry, the largest number of stock-out situations is caused by products with weight distributions between 20 g/cm2 and 10 kg/cm2. This also suggest some other areas of application for low-cost sensor arrays such as invisible electronic components used for security systems, car seats, patient monitoring, etc., suggest similar sensitivity requirements.

Multifirm project AREA 2-020 Smart home

Project Partners:

Project coordination (Story)

V-Trion GmbH textile research

Dr. Gaffar Hossain

T +43 (0) 676 843771 600


The COMET-Project TCCV Project no. 860474 is funded within the context of COMET – Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies by the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs (BMWFW), and the federal states of  Vienna, Tyrol and Vorarlberg. The programme is conducted by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).