Help needed into building a special type of proximity sensor...
currently i am working on my final project for my study as an industrial designer.
at the moment i am developing a product which will need to be triggered and activated by the motion of human hands.
the product looks like a simple 6 inch cube which permanently rests on one side. the top side is reserved for other interaction. so what i am dealing with are the 4 remaining sides which surround the cube.
the idea is that the closer a moving object [in this case a human hand or body] comes to one of the sides, the brighter the LEDs become. the range of this should be about 0 to 10 inches. the LEDs are not a problem, i just need a sensor that gives me a analog signal i can work with. and preferably this sensor will be behind a layer of around 0.2 inches of plastic material.
does anyone know how this can be done? i just can't seem to find the right thing for my project. i heard an ultrasonic sensor might do the trick...but will that work stuffed away behind plastic?
this would be great help for me, because i do not have a lot of knowledge on electronics to figure this out on my own.
so anyone out there who can help me: i am on my knees right now hoping for a solution...any ideas will do!