Social distancing in retail: InnovationLab presents intelligent printed sensor mat


InnovationLab (Heidelberg, Germany), expert for printed and organic electronics from development to production, presents a novel sensor-equipped floor mat, which helps to control the distance between people in retail stores.

Keeping distance has never been more important than now: New research shows that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is cut in half if the distance between people is two meters instead of one. The solution from InnovationLab offers important advantages here. In contrast to other, typically camera-based systems that monitor the position of shoppers and the number of people in a store, this one is more sensitive in terms of the privacy of people.

The prototype of the intelligent sensor mat from InnovationLab uses a sensor matrix to control a display with traffic light function. It detects when a customer is standing on the mat and switches the display to red. If no one is standing on the sensor mat, a green light is displayed and a new customer can approach.

InnovationLab develops and produces precision printed electronics using a roll-to-roll (R2R) process. All developments are market and practice-oriented. InnovationLab is now demonstrating the prototype of its intelligent sensor mat at the Karaaslan REWE store in Heidelberg.

Integrated in the intelligent mat is a sensor matrix with almost 8000 measuring units at 1cm intervals. You can distinguish between steps and, for example, the wheels of a shopping cart. The sensor mat can be used for a wide range of applications: In addition to distance control, the sensor mat can also be used to analyse visitor flows in a store. InnovationLab is working with industry leader SAP to transfer the data generated by the sensor mat to a cloud. This information can also be integrated into retailers' existing IT systems. The goal: more knowledge about customer behaviour.

"The intelligent mat can help reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in a retail environment. As important as this is – this prototype shows only a small part of what we can do in the field of printed electronics," says Dr Florian Ullrich, business developer, InnovationLab.

"Our range of different printed sensors, which are flexible, cost-effective and energy-efficient, opens up a wide variety of new applications for sensors," says Luat Nguyen, managing director of InnovationLab. Whether in the health and fitness sector, infotainment in vehicles or Industry 4.0 and warehouse management – printed sensors offer manufacturers absolute freedom of design. This is a decisive advantage over conventional manufacturing methods.”

Caption: The intelligent sensor mat from InnovationLab (photo: InnovationLab)

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