Instructables
Picture of Analog Fabric Joypad
How to make an "analog" input device from fabric and a few other necessary materials.



"Analog" in parenthesis because, although it is made up of 4 analog inputs, the only analog transition between the directions (up, right, down and left) comes from the buffering material (in this case 3cm thick squishy packing material) that absorbs and spreads the pressure from the user's pushing, creating a gradual transition between the inputs.

This Fabric Joypad does not need to be used with the drawing application seen in the video, it basically supplies you with analog outputs that sense which direction (part of the circle) pressure is being applied to.

If you are interested, the drawing application etchAsketch was written in Processing and can be downloaded from the link in STEP 8.

All pictures can be seen on Flickr in my Analog Fabric Joypad Set
 
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
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MATERIALS you will need for the Joypad:

- Conductive thread - 117/17 2ply (www.sparkfun.com)
- Ex-static - plastic from the black bags used to package sensitive electronic components
- 6 mm thick neoprene with jersey on both sides (www.sedochemicals.com)
- 3 cm thick squishy packing material (or anything else you can think of)
- 5 metal snaps
- Stretchy fabric
- Regular thread


TOOLS you will need for the Joypad:

- Sewing needle
- Scissors
- Cutter (forgot this in picture)
- Ruler
- Compass
- Pen and paper or cardboard
champi9118 days ago

Hi, this is a great tutorial! I have also worked on your pressure sensor matrix. The link for the code appears to be broken, do you have these codes posted somewhere else? Thanks!

>"Analog" in parenthesis because

" " <-- not parenthesis!
( ) <-- parenthesis.
Comment FTW!
ldubnitzky3 years ago
Absolutely amazing, original, and intuitive design.

I was just wondering- is there any way something like this can be modified to have more sensor points and have smoother input (as in faster signal + not as much pressure needed)?
colacarp4 years ago
Thank you very much with your extensive archive of tutorials! It has made things much easier for my own soft sensors!!!
here is what my collaborator and I did...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kpU1UGxESc

We created three single analog output (unlike the 4 that the joypad has) pressure sensors which we then hooked up to a lilypad arduino. We then sent the data into Max/MSP to generate MIDI values for Ableton.
GenViper4 years ago
Ya know, I have to say, for someone involved in making soft circuits, you're pretty hard-core awesome :)

Such a wonderful, professional look and quality you bring to both the hardware and software examples; enough to make this EE weep tears of joy!
raiderxx6 years ago
I've been doing some research, because I am very interested in making one to use at a help center I word at, but I figured you would probably know more about it than me: How much do you think you spent on making this? You can assume I already have a soldering gun. Or is this something I would have to make in bulk to make it affordable? Thank you!
Plusea (author)  raiderxx6 years ago
... and about affordability... seeing as most of the materials you'll need come in larger quantities than needed for one pair, you can definitely make more for the same price. it's the hand-made production time that really makes them "expensive".
colacarp Plusea4 years ago
I've been trying to find ways to cut down costs as some of these materials can get pretty pricy. I found some neoprene at a fabric warehouse near where I live, and I found some velostat bags for free- just ask places that deal with computer parts, you never know when someone want to throw some away.
Plusea (author)  raiderxx6 years ago
seeing as i was still experimenting while making it, it took me almost a whole day to fabricate both slippers. and i imagine it might also take the good part of a day to follow the instructions. the one weak-point of the slippers is where the wire connects to the thread in the heel of the slippers. i really need to find a better solution for this connection, which was also the trickiest part in the making. maybe you will come up with some alternative solutions and can share the results? that would be great. i'd also love to see some pictures of the slippers you make. if you have any more questions, please ask.
I forgot to mention what a great idea this is. Keep up the amazing work!
darkmuskrat6 years ago
This is really original and cool. Though it does have somewhat limited uses.
If you hook it up to Max MSP/Jitter, the uses multiply...
awkrin6 years ago
looks really cool! I wish I had an arduino..
dunnos awkrin5 years ago
buy one! they are only $30!
or even make one for cheaper
jon014 years ago
What's the point of it?
First thing I think of is the original arcade Street Fighter from the mid 80's. Instead of six buttons it had two large pads you punched/pushed. The harder, the more fierce the punch/kick. Soooooo I guess it could be used for disabled gamers/pc users, the very young or old, or ? You're only limited by your imagination.
freerunnin15 years ago
im guessing you like fabric tech seen as most of your instructables are made with fabric... :P
Cerafem6 years ago
( and ) are parentheses, " " are quotations. (little things like that bother me, sorry) otherwise, nice instructable.
Plusea (author)  Cerafem6 years ago
I don't get it but. okay
Cerafem Plusea6 years ago
"Analog" in parenthesis because... (intro)
I'm building an analog touch sensor currently, but am having difficulty finding the right dielectric material. I had hoped that the silver or pink antistatic bags would work similarly, but I haven't had any success. I've verified with a meter that the pads on either side of the fabric are working, but no voltage is passing between them. When I replace the antistatic bag with a known conductive material, such as my hand, I do see a charge across the two pads. Any suggestions for other materials? I do have quite a bit of copper foil somewhere, but I suspect this is too conductive.
Plusea (author)  SpuriousGrowth6 years ago
I've also found that the silver and green anti-static bags don't work to create a pressure sensitive variable resistance between two conductive layers. In the Analog Fabric Joy i used the black anti static bags (http://www.aplasticbag.com/storeitems.asp?Cc=ANTISTS5). I've also found that the EX-STATIC™ CONDUCTIVE FABRIC from LessEMF works, though it is very sensitive, charging and discharging current even when no pressure is applied. What I also thought would be cool, is if there would be some kind of anti static paint or liquid plastic. I think that polyaniline products might work, but i really don't know for sure (http://panipol.fi/).
Also look at anti-static foam, which ICs come pushed into. There is a nice big piece on the bottom of motherboards when you buy them. People have been using them for pressure sensors for years. They also make good flex sensor for a data glove.
I think I just need to search for some of the ex-static at one of the local outlets for creative materials. I can't see purchasing 250 of these. After your comment about the painted coating I remembered that I had some acrylic containing iron oxide and hematite, and another gold pigment that I thought might contain brass (I think it is really just yellow pigment + mica), but both seem to be non conductors. Another thought I had was just using an interlocking maze pattern with the conductive thread to measure the galvanic skin response plus pressure, but results of this would be less consistent and the signal very low. Might be applicable to a sensor that needs to be embedded in light fabric. I have an idea for an input buffer that automatically adjusts the threshold and is able to detect spikes and shorts. But depending on how the sensor actually behaves this may or may not work.
What's that music playing in the background?
Plusea (author)  Dave the Builder6 years ago
The music if from Karate. I forgot to turn it off before making the video, and couldn't figure out an easy way to delete the audio before uploading it. I find it very disturbing. Hmmm
fiezi6 years ago
You should make a huge pillow out of this where people can lie on and play racing games with - like wipeout. That would be super!
berserk6 years ago
Hmm... maybe I am just ignorant on the tech gadget front, but I would have liked to see somethign about what a joypad is at the beginning of this instructable. It sounds neat...
Plusea (author)  berserk6 years ago
joypad was intended as a play on "joystick", but it does actually exist as an alternative term for gamepad - which is an input device for games
You don't know what a joypad is?
Really good job. I wish I was smart enough to make this. Cool job, imagine a bigger one! :-O
nice! if you could make this sort of bigger (like the size of a chair cushion) then this could potentially be a really good alternative input device for computer games.
alexsolex6 years ago
nice job ! Imagine, you don't have arms anymore.... just make a seat of your "mouse" and sit on it ! You have an armless or handless mouse pointer... +1 for originality