Picture of Beacon
In this tutorial you will learn how to turn any conductive surface into a capacitive touch sensor. This project illustrates how to use capacitive touch to turn on a motor (fan) and neopixel. In this example, all of the components were custom designed and built specifically for this application. Since this method can be used for many different applications, this instructable will cover the behind the scenes making of the circuit and code.

click the link below to see what your project can do!

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Step 1: Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Step 1: Gather Materials

The main components needed for this example are:

Arduino Uno
12volt fan (3 inch)
small breadboard
a lidded jar
wire mesh
12volt wall plug adapter
22k ohm resistor
100k ohm resistor

The video above illustrates the first stages of prototyping the capacitive touch switch. The ball jar and foam sqaures are a stand-in for the final product, they do a great job of illustrating the animation that will happen in finished piece. Although the conductive fabric is acting as a stand-in for the actual switch, you can easily imagine that if it were hooked up to the metal lid of the jar, it would act the same way.

Step 2: Step 2: Download the code

Picture of Step 2: Download the code
Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 12.38.31 AM.png
Below is the code used to create this animation.
It is a combination of code taken from Arduino's capacitive touch library, and Adafruit's neopixel code.
You must download the capacitive touch library and import it into your Arduino to use this code.

Use your serial monitor to calibrate your capacitive sensor. Note that your values will change depending on whether or not you are plugged into your computer, or connected to earth ground, etc.

calibrate your switch by changing the values in the if statement that reads:
if (total1 <=50)

this if statement controls both the motor and the neopixel.

Ploopy2 months ago


Looks like your vimeo link is broken. :O

This will surprise a lot of curious people(like me) when they touch the base.

DenverAlex1 year ago

Wow that was his hand not his foot..... :)

lanceverde1 year ago
why are you touching it with your foot
wilgubeast1 year ago
Can you change your title to something a bit clearer? This is a very useful project, but I'm afraid it'll be ignored if your title is too clever.