Picture of Knit Touchpad
This knit touchpad is possible due to the properties of the anti-static gloves, which are sold for handling sensitive electronic components. The glove is knit from stretchy fibers that also include resistive yarn (poorly conductive). Because of the way the fibers in knits travel from one side to the other, from top to bottom, the resistive yarn travels it doubles back on itself in a way that maintains the resistive connection even when the knit is cut (interrupted). The surface thus has a unique resistance at any point when measuring from at least three points. In this demonstration I chose to measure from all four corners.

The following updated video shows the data visualization from all four inputs. And calculates the position of the nail. As you can see it is not perfect, but you can also see that it does kind of work >>

This is the original video using the finger cap >>

Instead of attaching the Vdd or Vcc to the finger, one could also have it as a continuous conductive layer mounted underneath or above the knit, separated by perforated foam. Although this minimizes resolution to the number of perforations, it does free the user from the additional step having to wear the finger cap. But in this case I consciously wanted to test this method for a future project idea.
The knit does not need to be kept on a flat surface, I just did this for demonstration purposes and the next Instructable will show how this method can be used to turn the whole glove into a touchpad. And then hopefully the whole body, though the problem I have to solve here is how to isolate against the knit interfering with the measurable continuous resistance by touching back on itself.
sli72 years ago
it is awesome and very nice project, but I can not find the code. Could you give me any information about the code? I will appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Barsoomian4 years ago
Hi, I was wondering if you remembered which corners were attached to which analog input port on the arduino?
NoSuchNick5 years ago
i was wondering if this sensor has a varying resistance relative to the amount of pressure applied.
If it has, how do you correct for it? Do you first calculated the total pressure out of the 4 individual inputs, adjust the values and then calculate the position?

Radobot6 years ago
This is a great project! But can you change the Conductive acrylonitrile stretch glove to something different (like some metal)? And can you use instead Arduino some circuit (what don't need program and have USB)?
Plusea (author)  Radobot6 years ago
if you use any resistive material you can measure from multiple points and calculate the position. and i'm not quite sure if i get the next part of your question. you want to use another analog/digital converter that is not the arduino? of course you can do this, but since i mainly work with the arduino, i don't really have any other recommendations. what are you trying to do?
avibank9116 years ago
wow nice project!! can you use something besides Arduino , like usb or summin?
Plusea (author)  avibank9116 years ago
Don't quite understand your question? Arduino is translating the analog signals into a serial signal, which is what is sent via USB to the computer. You can use other A/D converters, it does not need to be an Arduino.
chrischavez6 years ago
I don't have any access to conductive fabrics or anything of the sort. would there be anything that i could make. i have access to a multitude of hardware stores and a walmart. maybe a conductive glue that is spread on a mesh. maybe just maybe a few items from the Internet.
Plusea (author)  chrischavez6 years ago
well you can order conductive fabrics super easily online from >> www.lessemf.com

from a hardware store you might be able to get some velostat in form of antistatic plastic bags that are used for storing/packaging sensitive electronic components.

and it would be very cool if you could try making conductive glue and coating textiles with it. there is a good instructable for conductive glue, though it hardens and can not handle the stretchiness or flexibility of textiles >>
Thanks what I will try to do is make a drawing pad. maybe not that accurate but its something.
a little shaky, but great. is there any way to make it more accurate?
love this & all of your instructables plusea! so glad you're out there doing all of this cool stuff & sharing your projects!
macsimski6 years ago
you can also use the antistatic bags Farnell uses to send you chips in. it's black plastic and also has a decent resistance. i've made one measuring 20x20cm to be used as a life midi interface, with a teaspoon as a controller.
Plusea (author)  macsimski6 years ago
Yes, i've been working with Velostat (black anti-static plastic) for making bend sensors and combinations with layering and grids might make for a nice pressure sensitive, wearable touchpad.
I would love to know a little more about your 20x20 midi interface! Perhaps you are thinking of posting your own instructable on this? ;) How well does it work, how accurate, etc.?
muffin16 years ago
what if you had a carpet made out this stuff and you incorporated it in a video game, so you could walk around the room (with a peace of metal on your shoes) in the game. you could wear your suit thingie and it would be like a virtual reality game.
srhadaham6 years ago
Any reason why you would use this over the touch pad on your laptop or is this just something to have fun playing around with?
Plusea (author)  srhadaham6 years ago
It is something to have fun playing around with the basics of available materials. and is a prototype for a wearable touchpad... coming soon... i'm not actually using it over the touchpad on my laptop, i just put it on top of my laptop so that it would fit in the video frame along with the laptop screen. although you can use this fabric on top of your laptop touchpad, because it is conductive and will transfer the position of your finger. which would not work with a non-conductive piece of fabric in between finger and laptop touchpad.
vanbo srhadaham6 years ago
Both, but it could also be used for a desktop.
This is very cool. I think there might be a way to do this without a glove or nail. Do you have plans yet for using this? I'd like to see two contact improvisers wearing full-body suits made of this :)
Plusea (author)  kylemcdonald6 years ago
Hi Kyle!
This touchpad is actually a prototype for this project idea: Everywhere I can touch myself, which would be a full bodysuit for documenting touch between body parts.
I heard about car makers putting sensors in the seats that affect the way an airbag deploys. if the actual seat fabric was made of this material it could really improve the accuracy. Also this would be nice as an interface for a carputer, imagine sewing a cap on your stickshift and be able to control the pc without removeing your hand from the shifter.
GWJax6 years ago
Very interesting project, I could see some use for this kid of thing in robotics. This is one project I'll have to play with. Thanks for info. Jax
Kaiven6 years ago
That is just awesome! I'm voting for it :D
srilyk6 years ago
I think if you wrote in some jitter correction you could improve the accuracy. And considering the fact that you have 4 sample points, that should give you a reasonable margin of error, methinks. This is a really cool idea!
Plusea (author)  srilyk6 years ago
yes. it could probably be made lots more stable with some code and maybe even a better circuit. but one thing is that the knit fabric itself gives adds to the noise, because there is just one fine conductive fiber knit in and you can make contact with the same position in different ways, so that the input flickers. but i think that i'm also demonstrating the knit fabric in a bit of a wrong way. the really cool thing about it is that you can sew sample points directly to the glove (without cutting out a square) and measuring from them, know where you are touching you hand. this is one more thing i'm working on.
srilyk Plusea6 years ago
That's a really cool idea... I can think of some really interesting possibilities for use with the disabled...
sleepydog6 years ago
What a wonderful way of figuring position! I love your project!
Rachel from Instructables and Soft Circuit fame has used bolt (that meshy stuff they make ballerina outfits from) as a separator between conductive fabrics in her switches. The "weave is open enough to allow easy contact under light pressure, but provides good separation between layers of fabric when it isn't being touched.
If you're looking for conductive fabric, check out http://lessemf.com/fabric.html it may be a little tin-foil-hat, but they have good prices and selection.
Plusea (author) 6 years ago
I've modified (improved) this Instructable and uploaded a new video!
PKM6 years ago
Hmm.. how expensive is the stretchy fabric? Build one six feet across, project onto it and have a huge touchscreen without that pesky mucking about with webcams and IR :) You wouldn't even have to use a finger, one of those extending pointers like a radio aerial would work. Also, can you calibrate it to give absolute position? It seems like it would be a non-linear nightmare because of the multiple paths from the finger to the sensors...
Plusea (author)  PKM6 years ago
I don't think this techniques is made for precision. though i'm interested to see how much precision i can get out of it. the fabric is relatively cheap for small amounts, but so far i've only been able to find it knit as gloves: 3$/pair