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?