Hidden Touch: Open Source Sensors for New Interaction

Perry Naseck (2021)

Capacitive sensors have existed for touch and proximity sensing for some time, but not in an inexpensive and optimal format that is fully conducive for artists and makers. They are either expensive, unable to detect proximity, or do not scale up to many sensors in one project.

This project pursues the design, development, and fabrication of inexpensive capacitive touch and proximity sensors. These sensors are able to be embedded into objects and used with standard microcontrollers. They allow for projects to detect human presence with reasonable accuracy with configurable ranges and areas. These sensors may replace expensive or intrusive optical systems and will promote the creation of new and discoverable and interactions in art pieces and installations. Their nature of being both inexpensive and able to detect through opaque and solid surfaces unlocks new doors for interactivity.

This project was made possible in part by the Frank-Ratchye Further Fund Microgrant #2021-049.