I have ALS and am paralyzed below the neck. I use a very sensitive piezoelectric switch taped above my right eyebrow and an onscreen scanning keyboard program to control my computer. With a very slight twitch of my eyebrow and I can do everything I need to do. The problem is I don’t have a good backup in case my current ten-year-old switch box breaks. I have only found three piezoelectric switches, and only one is sensitive enough and doesn’t eat batteries quickly. Unfortunately, it is very expensive ($450) and I haven’t been able to find any for sale.
Anyway, I think the Arduino would be a great platform to make one of these switches, and very inexpensively (<$50). I have these requirements:
- 3.5 mm mini audio jack to connect piezoelectric sensor cable (I already have these)
- a knob to adjust sensitivity
- an LED and a quiet beep to indicate switch activation
- the Arduino should plug into a USB port and emulate a mouse click when the sensor is twitched
- the whole thing should be powered from the USB port (no batteries)
Does this seem possible? I think the most difficult part of this would be amplifying the very small voltages and currents generated by the piezoelectric sensor, without introducing much noise. Right?