What is touchIt?
The development for touchIt came out of a need to produce sensing elements for robotic actuators and end effectors. We needed something with the sensitivity of a skin but would also have aesthetics which added little impact on the bulk of the application it was used in.
The PCB measures 60mm x 22mm in size and the 0.4mm thick sensing element is based on capacitive technology, so it detects touches through the magnitude of charge displacement between parallel conductors.
The fingerprint denotes the active side, which can be painted over if necessary. The touch detection works in multiple ways:
When commands are sent to retrieve X/Y single position data, the magnitudes of 16 active areas are interpolated to produce a reading of a user's touch. The active area is therefore smaller but the relative position is of a higher sensitivity, at a resolution of up to 400dpi.
When commands are sent to retrieve the touch location data, the magnitudes of the 16 active areas indicate which one is currently active, producing a lower sensitivity range but a wider detection area.
Tap detections are touches made within a short time period and return either Fine or Coarse position data as requested.
It is possible to poll the device for touch data using just the four pins shown, but on the back of the PCB is an LED-coupled interrupt output which will pull low if a touch is detected, minimising the processing overhead of your controller.
How do I use it?
Easy! All you need is a controller device with an I2C port and a spare GPIO input connected to the 2.54mm (0.1") pitch 4-way connector, such as a Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone, Arduino, MIcro:bit or any other discrete microcontroller. It operates from either a 3.3V or 5V supply @ <5mA.
What's with the dashed line?
The shape of touchIt isn't going to be perfect for every occasion, so it seemed logical to allow safe detachment of the sensor pad using scissors or a scalpel for relocation from the controller. A short 1.27mm (0.05") pitch ribbon cable is recommended to reconnect the pads back together.
Who is it for?
Everyone! We believe it will be a practical solution for engineers, roboticists, educators and students learning the basics of computing, hobbyists, and makers of wearable and gesture-based technology!
How will you touchIt?
The rest is up to you, we bet you've already thought of many ways to use this in your next project! With your help we can finance the next stage and turn those ideas into reality!
Thank you for all your support!
The ProBots Team
Risks and challenges
We have a manufacturer set up and ready to go, the prototypes are complete and fully working. Documentation and code examples will be provided also to make using our product as easy as possible.
Working closely with the manufacturer we will ensure that production meets the highest expectations!
We have done our best to provide the best product we can, and every effort will be made to deliver on our promises on time if not before the stated delivery date. We just need you now to help get us there!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)