Research and Development in Measurement and Testing Technology

Textile Sensors

Textile Sensors for Surface Pressure Sensing

Endowing common textile products with new functions is an innovative field with growth potential. The goal is to integrate technical functions in textiles, while continuing to manufacture them with established methods such as weaving and knitting.

The integration of sensors that measure physical variables is interesting for a multitude of different applications. A technology developed at the Fraunhofer IFF senses distributions of pressure and force on surfaces based on textiles and manufacturing methods.

Method of Measurement

The method of measurement developed is based on the sensing deformations of textile upholstery and cushions as a function of force. Based on the sensor principle employed, a change in distance changes the electrical capacitance or resistance. An array of planar electrodes and a data analysis unit detect changes and calculated the value and location of a change in pressure. It ingenious design and evaluation of measured data enable it to sense large-area pressure distributions in high resolution. The sensor is made of materials already used in upholstery and bedding without noticeably changing their properties.


  • Low cost locally resolved sensing of pressure and force on surfaces
  • Flexible and elastic large-area sensor
  • Incorporation of classic methods of textile manufacturing
  • Use of existing seating and bedding cushioning materials
  • Customizable dimension, shape and sensitivity


  • Comfort and ergonomics: Pressure distribution when sitting and reclining Modification and adjustment of support contours
  • Medical applications: Bed systems for decubitus prevention and therapy; Customized aids such as wheelchair seats, prosthetics and shoes
  • Safety applications: Contact and collision detection; Seat occupancy detection
  • Tactile input devices for human-machine interaction

Our Range of Services

In projects, we develop and implement custom systems solutions based on textile sensor components. Custom sensor systems with integrated electronics that record and process data and methods and systems for measured data capture and calibration are integral parts of our systems solutions.