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staircase handrail lighting Answered

hi. not sure this is the right category but here goes.

i want to build a staircase handrail (interior) that has LEDs underneath it, pointing towards the stairs, and i want them to light up automatically when someone touches the handrail. a nice variant would be that individual lights light up following my hand position on the rail (following you up or down the stairs) and an even nicer variant to that would be to have the other lights fade as you move.

is this possible? and is it possible WITHOUT mild user electrocution? :D
i have no trouble building it, just not sure about the electrical part...

please share thoughts or ideas on how to make this!


You could have capacitance sense strip segments along the rail but that only works with bare bare skin contact, not with a nonconductive gloved hand. You could install various pressure sensitive sensors along the rail or have IR proximity sensors along the rail or install the sensors lower or on the step. There have been instances of people making piano key stairsteps and the Michael Jackson Billie Jean lightup sidewalk path. There might be some instructables on that. Good luck.

thanks, even during our -40°c winters i dont wear gloves inside so all should be good.

No, you can do cap-sense with gloves on. Arduino's capsense library will do it.

No, but they are operating in a much more precise manner. Its easy to
detect a big fat tank of water moving towards a conductor. Its less easy
to detect the end of a finger within 1/5mm when the tank is 4mm from
the surface. The software is trying to reduce a splodge to a point, when
you touch the surface. Effectively the splodge when wearing
non-conductive gloves is too big to give a "hit" The gloves bring "the
tank" to touching.