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Thread: Soft touch switches?

  1. #1
    Maximum Bitrate
    Join Date
    May 2005

    Soft touch switches?

    Ok, I think they are capacitance proximity switches, but here is what I am looking for...

    LG had a monitor where the buttons on the front were just small silver bumps that you touch. As soon as your finger brushed against them, it would respond. No mechanicals or anything...

    The Apple G4 Cube and matching LCD monitor also had something similar, except with no point to touch. You just touch the plastic case where it is marked with the power symbol and it functions as a power switch. There was no difference in the plexi casing where the switch was, so it was definately a prox sensor of some sort.

    I would like to do something like this on the frame I made around my LCD and possibly hook it up to something like that keyboard emulator board that a member here made (the one where you could hook up whatever switches and it translates it into an actual keyboard stroke via USB)

    Anyone know of the sorts of switches I am talking about or where I could get them? Any idea on cost? Can't be that much as there were 4 of 5 in the LF monitor... Or even a touchpad like button like the big ipods?


  2. #2
    MySQL Error scott_fx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Los Angeles Ca
    they are called qprox and are very cheap. qt-110 is a single (6 pin dip) ic that can give you a toggle switch for one function. they also have 6,10+ ic's that have error correction to figure which 'button' has the greatest capacitance change and just trigger that one.

    i built and tested something very close to what you are talking about and it worked pretty well. if you are considering backlighting don't use 'el' wire as it screws with the ic. best thing to do is to get a spring as your electrode and put an led in the base of that. (this is if you plan on having a flat panel that lights up the 'area' that you want to press.)

    with these 'switches' you dont need to actually touch the 'electrode' you just have to get close to it.

    if you want a panel like shown above. get a piece of clear acryllic and spray the back black. then draw your buttons in adobe illustrator or similar package and send the piece out to a laser engraver to get the text etched from the back. then wire up the electrodes and leds like i had described and you'll be good to go. if you dont want the shiny look, then paint the front of the plastic and have the laser etecher just etch the front. i have a laser etcher contact if you need it.

    cost...dirt cheap. the single qt-110's are a buck or so, the bigger ones are around 4 bucks, if memory serves me right.'ll need to make a regulated 5v power supply. just use a voltage regulator and cap.
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  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate
    Join Date
    May 2005
    That looks pretty cool! Now I just have to figure out how I want to implement something like that...

    It would be perfect if I could arrange the "buttons" in a big "+" shape so that I could use them to navigate front ends and such...


    Good to hear they are so cheap, too

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