I’m looking to make a gift for my long-distance SO in the form of two small crystals on pedestals - one for me and one for her. They can be powered from the wall and sit on our respective places of work. When one of us touches a crystal, the other will glow blue - a way to send a quick and subtle “hello” while we work. If both are touched they will both glow red - a nice way to feel connected across a country.
There are two main issues I’m looking to solve. The first question is which IoT device should run the thing. I’m not new to electronics projects but I am new to the IoT world. My needs are pretty basic: Any amount of space and processing power should be plenty, and I’ll need three pins for an RGB LED and maybe two for my touch input. I’m between the Electric Imp and the Sparkfun ESP8266 Thing. The Thing is cheaper and should suffice, but the Imp (~2x the cost) has some cool features like remote code uploads. If anyone has feedback in this area or another suggestion I’m all ears.
The larger issue is detecting touch. Ideally I’d use capacitive touch sensing since it’s cheap and easy, but I’m not sure if the properties of quartz or glass would allow the touch to be detected. I haven’t been able to find reliable information about the resistivity of natural quartz stone, and wouldn’t be sure how to interpret it if I did.
Using a metal touchpoint could work, but I’d sacrifice the niceness of having the actual touched object itself glow. I don’t like the idea of a button or anything moving or clicking - I’m shooting for a sleek and subtle experience. If anyone has feedback on the feasibility of detecting touch through a quartz stone or something like it, I’d love to hear it.
Feedback in general about product suggestions or design choices are also welcome.