Let's Make Robots!

Punchable/stompable switch

Hi, guys. I remember reading somewhere (maybe LMR, maybe Make Magazine?) about a DIY way to make a sort of electrical switch that closed a circuit when it was punched or stomped. It had something to do with a layer of foam between two contacts -- maybe the foam was partially conductive or something? I'm working on a musical project that involves recreating something similar to a DDR dance pad, and I'm trying to figure out how to make the pads. Does anyone know what I'm talking about, and maybe have a link or something? Or does anyone have any ideas that might prove useful? Thanks.

Dan

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Use two pieces of single sided blank PCB. solder a wire to each blank copper surface and place conductive foam between the PCBs. Connect this to your analog input as shown in my walkthrough.

 Here are some ideas on how to make Resistance/Force Sensors -

I thought them up while ago to use as antenne - Insect Feeler like sensors.

(sticking out of the front of Robot to detect objects).

 

What you need is Conductive foam and a Plastic encapsulation machine.

Conductive Foam is the stuff that they stick ICs in to protect them during transport and handling,

its like Black Foam - if you put your multimeter on a piece it will show a lowish resistance.

 

 Cut the conductive foam into strips

 Resistance_sensor3.jpg

 Take two of them and wrap thinthin wire around towards the end of each one.

Lay them in a line overlapping each other (for electrical contact) with the two wired ones at each end.

Then carefully put the whole thing through a plastic encapsulation machine (ie the ones that should encapsulate paper)

Caution:-Protect the wires with a paper sleeve - (if your Encapsulator is too hot it could melt the wires inside the machine - not a pretty sight)

 

End result is a flexible strain gauge that changes its resistance when flexed.

Resistancesensor1.jpg

 

The Top sensor ..... i was able to route the second return cable through the plastic encapsulation as well.

The sensors i made react to flexing and also if you press your finger on any part the resistance changes.

All you have to do is connect it to an analog port with pull up supply resistor.

The only thing to watch out is that conductive foam is Slowish - meaning it has to recover after extreame flexing.

Resistancesensor2.jpg

A link from Google showing a few DIY Dance pads.  I think I know what you are talking about, something that someone built for a youth center, but can't find it again. Almost think it was posted here. I've gotten some foot switches from a thrift store, for a robot control, another possible might be guitar pedal switches.
Maybe one of these instructables?