In retailing, where goods are sold face to face to consumers, capacitive and electric field sensing techniques can provide solutions for a wide range of applications.

Footwear Retailing - Foot Gauge.

The Clarks Foot-gauge illustrates Sensatech sensing technology providing an effective sensing solution within retailing. Some years ago Sensatech staff identified the potential to measure feet using a matrix of multiplexed capacitive sensors.

After approaching Clarks International, the UK largest retailer of children's shoes, the two companies came to an agreement to develop the Clarks Foot-gauge.

The Clarks Foot-gauge now assists Clarks retailing staff, in their stores across the UK and Ireland, by accurately measuring children's feet and helping them to fit the best shoes from their wide range including half sizes and various width fits.

Clarks International believe their Foot-gauge is now the most used children's Foot-gauge in the United Kingdom.

Footguage in situ in a UK shoe retailer

See also: Applications - Foot Measuring

Through the glass or vandal proof keyboards.

The ability of capacitive sensors to detect targets through other objects or materials such as glass or perspex makes this technique very suitable for the construction of keyboards which can operate on a touch or no touch principle, remaining protected, with no moving parts, behind a sacrificial surface.

What this means for retailing is the potential for:

Vandal proof user interfaces. These could be applied to various applications to reduce the cost and inconvenience of damage caused by vandals.

Through the glass interactive displays which could for example be used by potential customers from outside a retail establishment through the glass window of the shopfront. (note: through the glass keyboards could operate through single pane or double glazed windows).

Collision avoidance: where automatic doors are in action, parts of the doors themselves can be protected by electric fields to detect if they are about to collide with objects, this signal can be used to stop and or reverse the door to avoid collision. (see also: collision avoidance)

Product or display protection

As with the reversing sensor, and robotic control and protection, it is possible to throw an electric field around an object which can be used to detect presence or proximity. This technique can be used to protect objects in retail establishments perhaps by sounding alarms if items of value are disturbed. (note a number of other techniques are also available and in use within retailing)

See also:
Applications - Foot Guage
Applications - reversing sensor
Applications - robotic control and protection