I'm trying to build a presence sensor for my bed, to help trigger assorted home automation functions.

My first thought was to use a FSR and place it between the frame and boxsprings. I know how to deal with the A2D bit. However, I can't find one with a broad enough weight range.

Given that it's a heavy bed (not sure exactly how heavy), I was hoping to find something with a range of 0-1000 pounds with a calibrated accuracy of 100 pounds.

Can anyone suggest an appropriate sensor, or another approach?

  • That is a really interesting project. I have not seen any sensors that could help you. Will keep my eyes peeled though
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Jul 4, 2013 at 7:59
  • 3
    you might get better results using IR sensor carefully planted on your ceiling, it's more reliable and won't get broken from jumping on the bed or leaking some liquid.
    – lenik
    Commented Jul 4, 2013 at 14:02

2 Answers 2


I am aware this question is fairly old at the moment but it is an interesting idea. My initial thought was simply some form of heat sensor however on searching i can imagine lying on one to be somewhat uncomfortable. then i came across this little number. Slip one of these under the sheets and wire it up with some ow profile wires and your sorted. Depending on the bed style you may even be able to place this under the matress if the frame flexes a bit when someone is on it.

Flex Sensor 2.2"

A simple flex sensor 2.2" in length. As the sensor is flexed, the resistance across the >sensor increases. Patented technology by Spectra Symbol - they claim these sensors were >used in the original Nintendo Power Glove.

The resistance of the flex sensor changes when the metal pads are on the outside of the >bend (text on inside of bend).

Connector is 0.1" spaced and bread board friendly. Check datasheet for full >specifications.

enter image description here


  • In my case, it's a really thick foam mattress with a really stiff board instead of a box springs.
    – DonGar
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 7:57
  • I guess it would have to be under the sheets then, having not ever had a physical part i couldn't say how comfortable that may or may not be :P. Depending on how keen you are to implement this you could make a small incision and slide it in under a thin top layer of the foam? but obviously this is quite destructive for a prototype!
    – D Mason
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 12:58

Just to follow up (way, way later), I eventually bought one of these sensors, and attached it to the bottom of the wooden frame of the bed.

http://www.sureaction.com/pulsor_stress_sensor.html (The ENHP version, though I forget the difference).

I have device (used a Particle Photon instead of Raspberry Pi, but either would work) checking the sensor for changes in it's resistance to decide if the bed is occupied or not. The trickiest part of the logic is that the sensor will slowly drift from shifting temperature and humidity which can throw the calibration way off.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.