"Piano Stairs" but with light


I am still quite new with using Arduino. I have worked with photocells and I believe this certain project of mine can work with them... but I would just like to ask if anyone may have advice on how to approach this project and what materials I need.

I am currently using Arduino Uno. To make things simpler, I am basically doing a version of the "Piano Stairs" (link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXh2n0aPyw) but with light. I believe photocells could work with this, but I would like to gain a better understanding of how to go about creating this. Any advice would be appreciated!

Thank you for your time, Katarina

yes and no. One of the advantages of the pressure sensitive piano stairs was that everyone could make it work regardless of others on the same stair. With light , you would have have thousands of reflective photo sensors emedded in clear lexan or acrylic , facing up . To do this, the bottomside of each panel would need to have holes drilled to within 1/8th of an inch of the top surface but NOT all the way through. Each sensor would consist of a PAIR of holes close together , slightly angled toward each other. The IR led and photodiode http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2049723

would be inserted head first into the hole in the upside down acrylic or lexan panel and the two pairs of wires would be run to a groove on the side of the panel. The panel would have to have one pair of sensors for each foot sized area of the panel. The signals IR drivers signals and detector signals could be multiplexed .

This may be a dumb question, but would it be simpler to emanate light with pressure sensors rather than photocells?

I don't know which is easier to be honest with you. The cost of the one sensor vs another may also be a factor. Working with light is usually less problematic than working with pressure. I would take light over pressure without a second thought UNLESS , by pressure sensors you talking about simple MAKE/BREAK pads with a hole cut out separated by a thin foam so when even a child steps on it the foam compresses and the contacts "MAKE". That would be the absolute simplest cheapest aproach because there's no processing or signal conditioning or whatever involved, You either have a HIGH (or (a LOW ) or you don't . You could use internal pullups and have the switches short the pin to GND. That eliminates resistors but if you have lots of inputs you'll need a multiplexor or I/O Expander. (PCF8574)

Hi! I have seen "Piano Stairs" projects with:

Light sensors: http://www.hackster.io/bonnie/piano-stairs?offset=1&ref=explore&ref_id=magic_

Distance sensors: http://labs.ideo.com/2011/09/08/musical-staircase/

Maybe You can get some inspiration from there.


Our company is producing piano stairs professionally. Our installations are permanent and in use for more than one year. Please see our website for the piano stairs that we have developed from http://www.ThePianoStairs.com

Simple light or distance sensors will not work if you want to have a solid installation. I recommend you to use industrial sensors.