Learning how to make your own pressure sensor is something of a mind bending moment. If you are of the physical computing persuasion, you are normalized to quarter-sized force sensing resistors. Once you come across the magical fabric of velostat, the size (and possibilities) of pressure sensors grow exponentially. A welcome mat, for instance, enters the lexicon of ideation as an interface.
When John and I decided to present at NICAR, we wanted to create an entry experience for participants that embodied our theme of bridging the digital with the physical. Designing an interactive welcome mat felt like an appropriate object to signify transformation into our liminal space where the physical and digital are no longer separated. The mat is connected to Spark.io, so when a user steps on it, a signal is transmitted over wifi that activates a welcome screen straight from the interwebs. Pretty cool stuff. I built the mat and John handled the code.
For the mat, I used Hannah Perner-Wilson’s woven pressure sensor matrix design (this is another helpful one) and added a border to help us connect to the pins. We will be installing it on Friday, but for now, below is a bit of documentation of the construction. More coming soon!