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Topic: Impact Sensor Ideas (Read 2 times) previous topic - next topic


I've had an idea floating around my head for quite a while to build a physical game interface using a "sword", where the sword will be a wooden handle and shaft with thick foam covering (like a Fun Noodle over a medium thickness dowel). The sensors for the game would be a set of targets arranged around the player, perhaps 4 or 6 padded posts rising from a platform or even suspended from above (or maybe both for more sensors).

I haven't done any experimentation on the sensors yet, but I've had a few ideas (they are very similar to drum sensors) and I wanted to know if anyone had any ideas or experience in building these kinds of things.

The requirements would be:

Very sturdy, rigid supports than can stand a pretty hard whack with the "sword"

Sensors that would reliably trigger on a hit over a large area of the target, but not so sensitive that it would trigger on false hits from nearby sensors (or ambient noise/vibration).

Proportional (analog) response would be nice, but not essential (most of the time, if the sensor input was analog, it would just be compared to a threshold value for a hit/no hit determination).

I've mulled over microphones, piezo elements, conductive foam with foil or mylar surfaces for variable resistance or capacitance, flex sensors (either on the surface or mounting the targets on stiff springs), and accelerometers (probably a good choice, but more expensive than I would like). They all have their pros and cons (some more than others). Any ideas?


Hollow rubber cylinders and air pressure sensors.
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Hollow rubber cylinders and air pressure sensors.

I can see how a rubber disk with a mirrored bottom, a (cheap) laser LED pointed at it, and a ldr in the normal return path. In theory, hitting the disk should deflect the light away from the sensor momentarily.

Also: rubber-disk, metal-disk, hollow-spacer/o-ring, flexible metal disk, flexible rubber disk. Connect the circuit across the two metal disks, they'll be normally open and close when you force the outside disk against the inside one. Such a method worked amazingly for dance pads capable of supporting 350lb+ people jumping up and down. Some fine tuning is nessessary to reach the equilibrium between 'measures every hit' and 'random spurious hits'.

Although, I think pressure sensors are a good bet.
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Good ideas (plus I've got a few air pressure sensors lying around).


What about an accelerometer?  You could look for short-duration, high-g signals that would be unlikely to arise from anything other than a sudden impact.  For example, you don't experience 6gs very often while running around, but if you smack an accelerometer with a stick you might get a 6g reading briefly.

- Ben

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