Touch Sensitive RGB Light Made From Paper

Introduction: Touch Sensitive RGB Light Made From Paper

About: I am a former game designer who teaches kids about electronics. In our workspace, we have a ton of materials and tools to tinker around with. However, I was always excited to make electronics more accessible t…

Intro:

As a former game designer, I know that kids love to play and interact with technology. Usually, creating interactivity needs programming or complex circuits. To change that, I created this simple Lightcube on a touchable paper surface. Depending on where you touch it, the Lightcube changes its color!

These Touchcubes are a great educational project for kids to explore touch-sensitive paper circuits and RGB LEDs. Combine multiple Touchcubes to create a big touch matrix. You can even play and invent games with that!

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Supplies

  • an RGB LED (Digikey link)
  • a three volt button cell (i use CR2032) (Digikey link)
  • conductive tape with conductive adhesive (Digikey link)
  • Velostat (optional) (Digikey link)
  • a binder clip
  • the printed template
  • scissors
  • glue and/or transparent tape
  • some vegtable oil (optional)
  • cutter knife (optional)

Step 1: Watch My Video Tutorial

My video tutorial covers pretty much anything you need to know.
For better reproducibility, I included the most important steps on this page.

Step 2: Print the Templates

Print the template (PDF) attached.
Note: I created a lot more templates for this project, like playing-cards, emoticons, and very handy printable instructions! Visit my webpage to download my other templates for free.

I usually use 160g paper for printing my templates. The standard 80g printing paper will be OK, too. However, I recommend a thicker paper because it is easier to work with.

Step 3: Cut Out the Template

Cut out the template, then score all edges with the round edge of a paper clip and pre-fold all edges. Unfold again.

Step 4: Trace the Circuit With Conductive Tape

Use conductive tape to trace all circuit tracks shown in the template.

Step 5: Attach the RGB LED to the Circuit Using Conductive Tape

Attach the longest leg of the RGB LED to one track and the other three legs to the other tracks. Use small strips of conductive tape for attaching the legs. Make sure the four tracks do not touch each other in the end.

Step 6: Test Your Circuit and Find the Red Track

Fold over the switch and use the binder clip to attach the battery to the circuit. Then test your circuit by touching on the paper surface. Find the track that lights up the LED red! If you use the same RGB LED type I use, it will be the middle of the three tracks.

Step 7: Add a Small Resistor to the Red Track

Cut a gap in the red track and add a small resistor (e.g. 56 Ohm) in front of the "red leg".

This resistor is needed because the red part of the LED needs less voltage than the blue and green parts. Think of an RGB LED as three LEDs in one.

Step 8: Finish Everything Up and Test Your Circuit

Now you should be able to light up the LED in all sorts of colors. You can even mix colors to create new colors!

For testing, go to a pitch-black room.

Step 9: Add a Lightcube to the RGB LED

Print the attached Lightcube template:

  1. Use colorless vegetable oil to make the paper more translucent. Whip remaining oil.
  2. Then score all edges with the round edge of a paper clip.
  3. Cut out the template.
  4. Prefold every edge.
  5. Glue the Lightcube together.
  6. Attach the cube on top of the RGB LED.

Step 10: Tips and Tricks

Option 1: Add a small piece of velostat in between the switch to turn the switch into a pressure-sensitive touch area.
Option 2: Add spacer strips between the 3 tracks of the switch to better separate the colors from each other when touching.

Note: If you use velostat there is no need for spacer strips.

Step 11: Add More Touchcubes to Create a Touchmatrix!

If you make this with a group of kids, you can create a colorful touch-sensitive matrix by attaching multiple Touchcubes. All you need to do is fold over the side-flaps to the bottom and align the Touchcubes in a row.

Step 12: Play Games and Invent Your Own Games

Once you have multiple Touchcubes you can start inventing games with them. Please visit my website to find details on my Match Three Game and other fun stuff you can do with these touchable Lightcubes.

That's it!

If you liked this project follow me on Youtube or Pinterest. If you want to support me you can do so via Patreon.

Last but not least, you can help me win in the rainbow contest here on Instructables by voting for my project:

https://www.instructables.com/contest/rainbow2020/

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