I am currently working on a project that turns on a simple LED. However, instead of flipping a switch, I want a material that can be touched that will act as the switch.

Below is an image that is similar to what I am looking for. A plastic material that I can touch that will allow current to then pass through. I am looking for the material to be about the size of a hand and would want the material to be see through if possible.

Any help would be appreciated. I am just not sure where to find such a material or what is would be called.

enter image description here


If you are referring to the Raspberry Pi and wouldn't mind writing a few lines of code involving GPIO, the capacitive touch hat from Adafruit would suit you nicely.

I'm not sure about the second paragraph though. Maybe you're looking for Transparent Conductive Film (Google it).

  • +1 for the capacitive hat. If the touch components need to be transparent I think I might just use acrylic sheet and some adhesive backed copper tape.
    – goobering
    Jan 24 '16 at 9:02

You can work out something like this for yourself. Just have have a circuit (with low voltage/current) be interrupted by two conductive materials that can be shortened by putting your skin (or anything slightly conductive) on them. Then monitor the circuit to detect when the "switch is activated".

As an alternative to an actual touch-sensor you might consider using motion (PIR), light, or distance sensors to achieve something very similar. Those can work through something transparent, provide what you need (operating a switch by positioning a hand or something) and additionally allow "without touch", i.e. by swiping your hand over without actually touching. Just to provide you with some additional ideas :)

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