Smart and Washable: Tablecloths to Improve Hygiene Management

Current hygiene regulations require that restaurant operators ensure sufficient distance between guests. Intelligent tablecloths could help with this often complicated seat management, according to the German Institute for Textile and Fibre Research (DTIF). Besides – with the help of sensors –  restaurant visitors could place their order directly in the fabric without contacting the waiter.

Although digitization is advancing, comparatively few intelligent textiles are used. According to DTIF, this is not only due to high costs for these products, but also because so far the fabrics used have not had the properties required such as flexible, pleasant feel and easy washability. That is why the institute is developing a purely textile sensor system within the framework of a research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in Germany.

The tablecloths are to interact with the electronics integrated in the table. Central functions are detection of seat occupancy and ordering functions. Additional functions could be realized by an event and game application.  According to the institute, specially developed wrap-around yarns are being used. The first functional samples have already been created using embroidery technology, which records and shows distance and contact with built-up electronics in a sample table.