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Good Starter Project – Sensing Spaces

Sensing Spaces

Explore large scale sensors in the built spaces around you.

Use the Touch Board Starter Kit to create an alarm sensor able to detect a sneaky intruder crossing a threshold.

Step 1: Materials

bare conductive items in grid

To begin you will need:

We recommend for this project Bare conductive Touch Board Starter Kit

  • 1 x MicroSD Card
  • 1 x MicroSD Card Reader
  • 1 x Micro USB Cable
  • 1 x Mini Speaker
  • 1 x Stencil
  • 1 x Stencil Brush
  • 12 x Sticky Tabs
  • 3 x Velcro Stickers

Step 2: Touch Board Placement

touch board attaching to wall

Determine the best location for your sensors and a discrete position to attach your Touch Board. You may want to locate it on a wall or directly on your bottom step as pictured. It’s helpful to have a power socket near by.

Planning this out will help you determine which electrode to load the sound onto, and which direction your speaker and USB wires will need to run to power.

Once you’ve selected a spot, mark the electrode and Touch Board position with a pencil so you know where to paint to.

masking area
masking area conductive paint
all with conductive paint

You can apply Electric Paint directly to most materials but if you chose to make a temporary sensor you can use masking tape as a substrate.

Attach the tape to a low-tac backing such as plastic, and cut to the length you require for your sensor surface.

Apply paint generously from the Electric Paint 10ml Jar ( in the box in Touch Board Starter Kit ) using a paintbrush and leave until completely dry.

Step 4: Apply Electric Paint

marking dot on wall

Use the Electric Paint Pen to extend a line of paint out and down from your pencil mark to your sensor surface. Make sure the trace does not go underneath the Touch Board as it can cause a short circuit. You can also use the Touch Board pitch stencil sheet to create a neat line. For a tutorial on how to use Touch Board Starter Kit you can always visit our How To guides page.

Step 5: Attach Touch Board

stripe on wall for marking touch board

Once the paint is dry to the touch, you’re ready to attach the board onto the wall.

You can use two sticky tabs or double sided tape to secure it in place. The hole from your selected electrode should align with the circle at the end of your trace.

Squeeze a small droplet of Electric Paint from the pen into the electrode hole to ensure the connection with the trace and floor graphic is reliable.

For a detailed tutorial on attaching your touch board follow the link below.

Attaching your Touch Board

Step 6: Connect Audio and Power

touch board on wall with speaker ready to go

Plug in your speaker and rest it on a surface or attach it to the wall using one of the velcro stickers or double sided tape.

Plug in the Micro USB cable to power from a computer or wall socket using a wall-mounted USB plug.

Step 7: Load Sounds

add sd carg to pc for media

Upload your selected alarm sound onto the Touch Board.

Take the SD Card out of your Touch Board, and connect it to your computer using the SD Card Reader. Follow the instructions in the README.txt file to name your file and load it onto the Touch Board.

Take care to match the file name to the electrode you have chosen. If the files aren’t named properly they won’t play.

If you want more details on this step then follow the link below.

Changing the MP3s on your card

paint area with conductive paint
stairs and tape on conductive paint

You can paint your sensor directly on the floor, or apply the tape onto the step surface as we have done here.

We used a simple design to maximise the chances of our pet dog stepping on it.

Be aware that too much paint in solid blocks may create interference with your sensor. Start with one line and build up to be safe.

Step 9: Reinforce the Sensor


Once the sensor is on the floor, go back and retouch the connections between the sensor and the line on the wall, as well as any gaps in the continuity of the paint between the pieces of tape.

You can use Electric Paint and a paintbrush or the Electric Paint Pen.

Breaks in the paint may stop the sensor working so test it by touching the paint further and further from the electrode. If it stops working check for cracks in the paint and repair.

Step 10: Your Alarm Is Ready

dog crossing line and alarm is on

Once completely dry, your sensor is ready to go! Turn on your Touch Board and test it out. Have fun experimenting with different alarm sounds, or create new sensors in different locations. What intruder will you detect?

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